The Lord’s Response
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 12:1-17, Hosea 11:1-9, Matthew 15:1-9
BY Erin Davis
Jeremiah is not the first prophet (nor the last) to grow weary with the wayward. Can’t you just picture his hunched shoulders and deep sighs as he asked, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the treacherous live at ease?” (Jeremiah 12:1).
Like the psalmist who confessed that they envied the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:3), Job whose pain convinced him that the righteous were the butt of every joke (Job 12:1–6), and Jonah, who despaired when the Ninevites received mercy, not wrath (Jonah 4:1–4)— the Bible records a long list of people of faith who had lost faith in humanity.
As I read their words, I’m waylaid by the realization that my own heart wants to default to that same setting. It’s so easy to shake my head and wag my finger, to lump mankind into the categories of “us” and “them,” and wonder why those “on the other side” are having all the fun. And yet, we never find God joining the pity parties of the righteous. While His judgments are clear and His righteousness does not bend, He relentlessly chases the lost. In response to Jeremiah’s despondency, God says, “After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land” (Jeremiah 12:15).
Right here, in the middle of an Old Testament book, we find the message of the gospel, the needed balm for every cynical soul. Jeremiah had forgotten, as we all tend to do, that when compared to God, no one is righteous, not one (Romans 3:10–12)—not even weeping prophets. We deserve death, not mercy. Our pity parties end when we remember we’re all trophies of God’s grace freely given to us. Every single one of us.
In Hosea’s prophetic book, it was the Lord’s turn for deep sighs as He lamented, “My people are bent on turning from me” (Hosea 11:7). The reality of our sin nature is as evident in us today as it ever was then, and yet, this is how our God responds:
“I will not vent the full fury of my anger;
I will not turn back to destroy Ephraim.
For I am God and not man,
The Holy One among you;
I will not come in rage” (Hosea 11:9).
When it looks like the lost have something we are lacking, may the gospel remind us that we have been given grace over and over again. We have Christ. In Him, we have everything.