But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.Jeremiah 11:20
Perhaps the central lesson of this book is what happened to Jeremiah as God prepared him to minister in a day of decay. He was called to a strange and difficult ministry. God gradually had to prepare him and toughen him increasingly for the assignments he was to be given in this nation. So Jeremiah was plunged into an even more difficult time than he had ever known before, a troubled time for the nation.
God sends young Jeremiah back to the nation with another word of warning and denunciation for the third time now in Jeremiah's ministry, God tells him not to pray for this nation:
Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble (Jeremiah 11:14 RSV).
This was what had distressed Jeremiah so much — that God would not even let him pray for them. He had laid a vocal quarantine on Jeremiah and had said,
I do not want you to pray, for prayer delays judgment. This had great effect upon Jeremiah. From here on we are going to see God's toughening of this young man in preparation for what was coming.
Jeremiah found something happening which absolutely threw him into consternation. He learned that there was a plot against his life by his own neighbors and friends. He tells us about it, beginning in Verse 18:
The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then thou didst show me their evil deeds. But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. (Jeremiah 11:18-19a RSV) Jeremiah realized how naive and blind he had been to trust these neighbors and friends. Now he understood that they had plotted against his life.
I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, (Jeremiah 11:19b RSV) Jeremiah was dismayed that his friends would refuse to support him and would betray him in this way. He comes to the Lord and cries out,
Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.
But, O Lord of hosts who judges righteously, who tries the heart and the mind, let me see thy vengeance upon them, for to thee I have committed my cause. ((Jeremiah 11:20) RSV)
He did the right thing. He brought his problem to the Lord. Some of us do not bother to do that when a trial strikes. We run to somebody else. But he brought it to the Lord. Yet he was a thorough-going evangelical, for, though he brought his problem to the Lord, he had with it also a complete plan for how God ought to solve it!
Father, help us lay aside our pride and commit ourselves to you, and your causes, for you are our protector always.
How do we respond when God's response differs from our understanding? Do we presume to counsel Him? Or have we learned that His wisdom, His Presence and His power are everything we need for every situation?