September 12 I Wednesday
2 Corinthians 5
“You are always righteous, LORD, when I bring a case before You. Yet I would speak with You about Your justice: why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” —Jeremiah 12:1
Jeremiah faithfully delivered God’s messages to His people for 40 years. He was bold, forthright and uncompromising when he prophesied, but there were times when, behind closed doors, Jeremiah questioned God. Jeremiah made the complaint in the opening verse after God revealed a plot against his life while he was prophesying in his hometown of Anathoth. He was struggling to understand why it often seems the ungodly have the advantage over the godly. Why do the righteous suffer while those who reject or fight against God seem to get ahead?
Having raised the question, Jeremiah proposes a solution for the wicked. He says, “Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!” (Jeremiah 12:3), and a few chapters later, “Bring on them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction” (Jeremiah 17:18). As believers, there are days when we might sympathize with the spirit, though not the harshness, of Jeremiah’s reaction. We know God is just, but when we experience hardship while those who don’t believe in God seem to get off scot free, we might be tempted to ask, “Where is Your justice, God? Why won’t You silence the ungodly voices that are having such a negative influence in our society and culture?”
God’s solution turns the situation back on Jeremiah. He asks, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5). In other words, God tells Jeremiah to re-evaluate his understanding that God is obligated to make life easy for the people who serve Him. In fact, Scripture often teaches the opposite. The intensity of the battle is often not a sign that we are outside the will of God but that we are on the right track.
God does not exempt His people from difficulty but equips them to go into difficulties. Moments of hardship are not the time to doubt Him or His justice but to trust Him more than ever before, believing His promise that He will be to us and in us for today what enables us to live within each situation. We are to leave justice to Him, knowing in the meantime that as recipients of His grace, we can approach our hardships and mistreatments with the confidence that the righteous God is our strength and enables us to run the course with men, “with horses” and through all the “thickets” of life.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, though life is not always easy, it is always good with You. Thank You for being all the resource I need to persevere through hardship.