Day 234: Jeremiah Complains

Jeremiah 12:1-6 Jeremiah questioned God about the prosperity of the evildoers and the persecution of the good. The Lord indicated that the present trials were a preparation for still greater ones in the near future.


Ch 12:7-17 God allowed the Promised Land to be conquered by foreign invaders on account of Israel’s sins. Israel had an opportunity to repent; moreover, the pagan invaders would be welcomed and shown mercy if they would repent of their own sins.


Ch 12:7 Christ referenced this verse in his lament over Jerusalem when he said, “Your house is forsaken and desolate” (Mt 23:38; cf Lk 13:35).


Ch 12:14-15 St. James paraphrased these verses at the Council of Jerusalem when he argued that Gentiles should be welcomed into the Church without the requirement of circumcision: “God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, that the rest of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name’” (Acts 15:13-17).


Ch 13:1-11 God’s people should cling to him just as a well-fitted loincloth clings to a man. If the people would reject God’s loving overtures, much self-imposed tribulation would await them.


Ch 13:12-14 The wine jars bring to mind a happy celebration, but for the Lord they represented the wrath that would descend upon the people. The population’s willful alienation from God’s covenant made them directly responsible for their demise.


Ch 13:15-27 The various sections and prophecies of Jeremiah do not necessarily follow a chronological order as seen in these verses. This prophecy probably came after the first wave of exiles was taken to Babylon. Jeremiah’s experience of preaching conversion to a stubborn people must have been frustrating, and at times (as in this prophecy) he appeared almost resigned to Judah’s failure to heed his warnings. Unless the Jewish people recommitted themselves to embracing their covenant with God and keeping the Mosaic Law, they would be especially prone to sin. (CCC 1732-2380)


Ezekiel 41:1-26 The nave, or “holy place,” was accessible only to Temple priests and contained the altar of incense and the altar for the bread offering. Also present therein was the Holy of Holies, the most sacred space, where the Ark of the Covenant was housed together with the mercy seat, which symbolized the presence of God. No one could enter the Holy of Holies except for the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement (in Hebrew, Yom Kippur), in order to offer sacrifices and seek forgiveness from God for his sins and the sins of the people. (CCC 433)


Ch 42:1-20 The outbuildings adjoined the Temple and served as both a residence for the Temple priests and a place to consume the sacrificial offerings made in the Temple. The entire Temple complex was set apart from the rest of the city by a perimeter wall emphasizing the sacred space of the Temple grounds.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • GOSH!

  • That Proverb where it says, “The foolish doesn’t want to be reproved, the foolish doesn’t want to be taught.”

  • There is something about this called DOCILITY

  • What does DOCILITY mean?

  • When Fr. Mike was in Central America, a priest was talking about the VIRTUE OF DOCILITY

  • A number of the teachers were really BRITTLE to that word

  • They thought being docile meant to be a pushover

  • DOCILITY means the KIND OF PERSON THAT CAN BE TAUGHT

  • It makes sense for teachers to know the value of students who are OPEN TO BEING TAUGHT

  • As opposed to stubborn students who think they know everything already

  • It was so clear to Fr. Mike how even as a missionary how important it was to be able to have that HEART OF DOCILITY

  • That sense of, “Ok God, whatever it is you need to teach me, I want you to teach me.”

  • THAT IS THE WISE HEART!

  • THE HEART OF THE FOOL HATES BEING TAUGHT, HATES BEING CORRECTED

  • That is part of what God gives us when we read Jeremiah and Ezekiel

  • He continues to CORRECT US

  • ONLY IF WE ARE OPEN TO BEING CORRECTED

  • Jeremiah Chs 12 and 13 are REMARKABLE

  • Jeremiah Ch 12 is BEAUTIFUL

  • Jeremiah Ch 13 is WEIRD

  • Jeremiah 12:3, “But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my mind toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter...”

  • At the end Jeremiah is talking about the false people of Jerusalem and Judah

  • “Basically get rid of them because what’s happening around us is I know what is coming. The Babylonians are going to come. They are going to destroy this place, unless you correct us, unless we come back to you.”

  • Jeremiah 12:5, “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?”

  • That is one of those BEAUTIFUL POETIC AND GENIUS LINES

  • You can’t even race with human beings!

  • How will you compete with horses?

  • Jeremiah 12:6, “For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you…”

  • We just need to acknowledge our limitations

  • We can’t even compete with HUMAN BEINGS much less compete with the WORKINGS OF GOD

  • Think of any sort of endeavor, like the Olympics, and realize, “I am not able to compete at that level with any of those people.”

  • Maybe some of us can...good for you!!

  • Maybe you competed in the Olympics so you know what that’s like

  • We recognize our SEVERE LIMITATIONS

  • That’s one of the things Jeremiah is highlighting

  • Jeremiah is saying, “Those of us who can’t even compete with strong human beings, how in the world are we going to be able to compete with the Lord?”

  • So Jeremiah complains to God

  • God answers

  • Jeremiah 12:14, “...’Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.”

  • And this is such good news

  • We even have a note of HOPE in Jeremiah at the beginning of this

  • Remember, Jeremiah preaches for 40-50 years

  • The word of hope is in Jeremiah 12:15, “And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.”

  • THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!

  • Jeremiah 12:16, “And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people.”

  • Here is the people who are swearing by Baal and turning to other false gods

  • AND YET…

  • GOD WILL BRING THEM BACK

  • THEY WILL LEARN HOW TO PRAY IN GOD’S NAME

  • THEY WILL LEARN HOW TO WALK IN GOD’S NAME

  • THEY WILL LEARN HOW TO LIVE IN GOD’S NAME

  • In the midst of all this chaos that Jeremiah has to experience, there is this drop of HOPE

  • God is saying, “Yes, this is what’s going to happen. Destruction is going to come.”

  • Remember, Jeremiah is calling the people not only to repent, BUT TO BRACE FOR IMPACT

  • IMPACT IS COMING!!

  • If they aren’t willing to take the EASY MEDICINE, then the HARD MEDICINE IS ON ITS WAY!!

  • Jeremiah Ch 13 has a fascinating little image of The Linen Waistcloth

  • What’s a linen waistcloth?

  • It sounds like underwear

  • DING DING DING!! You move on to FINAL JEOPARDY!!😉

  • God tells Jeremiah to go and buy some linen waistcloth

  • At least it was NEW UNDERWEAR

  • Jeremiah wore it on his body

  • God then tells him to go to the Euphates and hide it there in the rocks and let it rot away

  • Many days later, God tells Jeremiah to go back and track down the underwear in the rocks

  • THIS IS THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL

  • THIS IS THE HOUSE OF JUDAH

  • Jeremiah 13:11, “For as the waistcloth clings to the loins of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.”

  • SO THEY BECAME RUINED UNDERWEAR!!! 🤮🤮🤮🤮

  • That’s one of Fr. Mike’s favorite images of any of the prophets in the Bible because of his juvenile sense of humor

  • BUT IT WORKS, RIGHT?

  • We get the DEPTH of this

  • As we are getting to the end of Jeremiah Ch 13, God is making it very clear

  • Jeremiah 13:15-16, “Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness.”

  • GOSH!

  • COME BACK TO THE LORD WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME!!

  • It’s one thing for us to HEAR these words and THINK, “Man (OH MAN!!), why did they not turn back to the Lord?”

  • It’s another thing for us to HEAR these words and SAY, “Maybe that’s ME. Maybe that’s ME right now. Maybe that’s what God is asking of ME at this moment. Is there anyway, anywhere, any place in my life right now where God is saying, ‘Hey, come back to me.’ This is an area where you have drifted from me. This is an area where you may have grown cold to me and this is where I’m asking you to come back to me.”

  • It’s one of the gifts of diving deeply into these prophets

  • Not only do we get the CONTEXT

  • Here is Ezekiel having a vision of the Temple for the next few chapters as Jerusalem has already fallen and the Temple IS DESTROYED

  • But also here is Jeremiah and the Temple HAS NOT been destroyed yet

  • He is still calling those people back to be able to say, “Where in my life is God asking me to surrender my heart? Where in my life is God asking me to say, ‘Ok I’m his NOW. I’m his ALWAYS. I’m his FOREVER.”

  • That’s a great question that I’m asking myself today

  • As we listen to this Word of God

  • As we ask the Lord to CONVICT OUR HEARTS AND BRING US HOME

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Word. Thank you for the gift of just being able to be a part of this community, to know that there are people praying for us and with us, people who are listening to your Word, all of us who are broken, all of us who struggle with so many things, and yet we continue to come back to this place. We continue to allow you to speak to us. We continue to give you permission to know our hearts, and you do. And you do speak to us. And you do know our hearts, Lord God. Even in the midst of our woundedness, even in the midst of our brokenness, even in the midst of how we’ve failed to be the kind of men and women that you’ve created and redeemed us to be, you still call us back to yourself. Thank you so much. And may you be glorified. May you be praised. May you be loved not only by the hearts around this world, but also by our hearts. May our hearts be the kinds of hearts that can love you the way you deserve to be loved. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”