Opening Prayer

Holy and Majestic One, you are worthy of my highest praise. I thank you for your glory seen in Jesus.


Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 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?
You have planted them, and they have taken root;
    they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
    but far from their hearts.
Yet you know me, Lord;
    you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
    Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
How long will the land lie parched
    and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
    the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
    “He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

“If you have raced with men on foot
    and they have worn you out,
    how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble[a] in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets by[b] the Jordan?
Your relatives, members of your own family—
    even they have betrayed you;
    they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
    though they speak well of you.

“I will forsake my house,
    abandon my inheritance;
I will give the one I love
    into the hands of her enemies.
My inheritance has become to me
    like a lion in the forest.
She roars at me;
    therefore I hate her.
Has not my inheritance become to me
    like a speckled bird of prey
    that other birds of prey surround and attack?
Go and gather all the wild beasts;
    bring them to devour.
10 Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard
    and trample down my field;
they will turn my pleasant field
    into a desolate wasteland.
11 It will be made a wasteland,
    parched and desolate before me;
the whole land will be laid waste
    because there is no one who cares.
12 Over all the barren heights in the desert
    destroyers will swarm,
for the sword of the Lord will devour
    from one end of the land to the other;
    no one will be safe.
13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
    they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.
They will bear the shame of their harvest
    because of the Lord’s fierce anger.”

14 This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16 And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people. 17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 12:5 Or you feel secure only
  2. Jeremiah 12:5 Or the flooding of

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Read Psalm 13:1–4. Be honest with God about what you find frustrating and confusing about life today.

Think Further

Every company has a complaints procedure. When a product doesn’t live up to expectations, then we can complain, with a view to recompense. Jeremiah has a complaint: life’s not fair! It doesn’t add up. God himself is just and true (v 1a) yet unjust and evil people thrive (vs 1b,2). Jeremiah is doing his best (v 3a), so, by implication, why is he under so much attack? He wants his money back! He wants proper punishment to be enacted. At times, looking at the world around me, I feel the same. Why does God not intervene in corruption, injustice, and crime? I am confused and frustrated, even a little angry. What is God’s response?

God’s words are enigmatic: ‘So you think things are bad now, Jeremiah? It will get worse. And it will get personal’ (see v 6). ‘Jeremiah, get a grip.’ God then provides some perspective, from his own point of view. He has been rejected by his own chosen people and consequently invaders have wreaked chaos in the perfect land he gave them. Yet even in the desolate ruins, they have not given him a thought (v 11). How does Jeremiah’s complaint compare with that? So, I must admit, my petty frustrations, complaints, and confusions pale into insignificance when placed alongside God’s cosmic burden.

Thankfully, we end on a much more uplifting note, with an international dimension. Addressing the invaders, God issues a message of hope, although there are conditions attached. Just as they seduced Israel and Judah into worship of Baal, so God invites them to worship him. Compassionately, in a war-torn world he offers a stable, multinational homeland (v 16). It’s a hint of the commission Jesus gave to his disciples (and therefore to us): ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’1 Let’s never allow that hope to die.


Concentrate on the international dimension of your prayers of intercession. It may require research and persistence, but the effort is what God asks of us.

Closing prayer

Lord, there is so much in my world that can cause me to fear and despair. Help me to lift my eyes and find my hope in you.

Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by kingstar

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *