It is easy for us as Christians to allow the circumstances surrounding us to create doubt in our hearts. When the Christian looks about himself at the prosperity of the ungodly, it often can lead to despondency and a desire to understand why. This problem, however, is not new. The prosperity of the wicked has caused many believers, including David, the psalmist Asaph, and Jeremiah, to ask God the age-old question: “Why do the wicked prosper?”
In Jeremiah 12, the prophet was disturbed by the wickedness that surrounded him. The circumstances were very grim. The nation was facing coming judgement, the land was suffering a drought, and Jeremiah was being plotted against by his own countrymen. It was a very hard time in the life and ministry of Jeremiah and it seemed that he was all alone in his stand for God. It is apparent in the first few verses that Jeremiah had allowed dark thoughts to enter his mind and for doubts to fill his heart as he cried out to the Lord, “Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (v. 1). Jeremiah expressed his doubts to God as he looked beyond his own personal suffering and noticed the prosperity and happiness of those who were ungodly. This baffled the mind of Jeremiah. Why do the righteous suffer and the ungodly prosper? Jeremiah asked the Lord why he didn’t judge the people and move on the behalf of the righteous. Jeremiah cried out “Why?”.
It is important to remember how Jeremiah began verse 1 when we ask the question “Why?”. In verse 1 Jeremiah began with: “Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee…” Jeremiah realized a very important truth and he established it at the outset of his prayer. He realized that even when things seem dark and the Lord doesn’t seem to be moving, God is right in all that He allows. Jeremiah realized that even when doubts arise in the heart of a believer, God always has a perfect plan that He is accomplishing. And although we may not be able to see and understand why things are happening, we can remember that we walk by faith and not by sight. We must remember that God has a righteous and good plan that is being accomplished.
Have you had a Jeremiah 12 moment in your life? Have you ever felt like you were standing alone for God in your workplace, family, community, etc? Have you ever been through a dark valley and looked up and saw the wicked prospering?
God would go on and explain to Jeremiah that He was working His perfect plan even though things looked bleak. We must realize that what God does is always right.
There is an old hymn that reads:
“What God ordains is always good.
This truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
I shall not be forsaken…” (Samuel Rodigast)