Thursday, February 25, 2010

Footmen,Horses Speckled Bird - Jeremiah 12

Jeremiah 12:5 "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?"

Several famous phrases and terms are found in this chapter, those above, and the speckled bird in verse 9.

v9 "Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour."

In verse 12 we have an exhortation to strengthen ones faith or at least fortitude because things will get worse and it will take more strength later than now. Things are bad now, but buckle down because worse things are coming. You have to picture the war of their time. Fighting hand to hand combat is pretty bad and dangerous, but when the horses and their riders charge into men on foot, it is devastating to the footmen. To the prophet, the land is at peace now and it is troubling with the way things are going, but the enemy is just out there and will soon invade.

The other first with the speckled bird reminds me of the days on the farm. We handled laying chickens. They got along fine until a chicken was injured, i.e. a slight blood spot from falling. Then all the chickens that passed by would peck that spot until it became a deadly wound. They would even chase the injured chicken until it was pecked to death. So the speckled bird represents all that someone has (I expect the prophet), his heritage, those around him are pecking away at it and inviting others to do the same.

I've written a lot but this chapter is similar to Job reasoning with the Lord. Jeremiah is saying, why not just pluck up the evil and save the nation.

v1 "Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee; yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments; Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?"

Jeremiah is, no doubt, very alone in his country. We learned that the leaders and the priests are already lying to the people. He starts to wonder about things. Even Elijah got discouraged.

Jeremiah points out that the people talk a good talk but it does not come from the heart.

v2 "Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit; thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins."

But even with the judgment to come, there is a word of hope for the prophet.

v15 "And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land."

And a warning: v17 "But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD."

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