eremiah complains of the prosperity of the wicked. (1-6) The
heavy judgments to come upon the nation. (7-13) Divine mercy to
them, and even to the nations around. (14-17)
Verses 1-6: When we are most in the dark concerning God's
dispensations, we must keep up right thoughts of God, believing
that he never did the least wrong to any of his creatures. When
we find it hard to understand any of his dealings with us, or
others, we must look to general truths as our first principles,
and abide by them: the Lord is righteous. The God with whom we
have to do, knows how our hearts are toward him. He knows both
the guile of the hypocrite and the sincerity of the upright.
Divine judgments would pull the wicked out of their pasture as
sheep for the slaughter. This fruitful land was turned into
barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwelt therein. The
Lord reproved the prophet. The opposition of the men of Anathoth
was not so formidable as what he must expect from the rulers of
Judah. Our grief that there should be so much evil is often
mixed with peevishness on account of the trials it occasions us.
And in this our favoured day, and under our trifling
difficulties, let us consider how we should behave, if called to
sufferings like those of saints in former ages.
Verses 7-13: God's people had been the dearly-beloved of his soul,
precious in his sight, but they acted so, that he gave them up
to their enemies. Many professing churches become like speckled
birds, presenting a mixture of religion and the world, with its
vain fashions, pursuits, and pollutions. God's people are as men
wondered at, as a speckled bird; but this people had by their
own folly made themselves so; and the beasts and birds are
called to prey upon them. The whole land would be made desolate.
But until the judgments were actually inflicted, none of the
people would lay the warning to heart. When God's hand is lifted
up, and men will not see, they shall be made to feel. Silver and
gold shall not profit in the day of the Lord's anger. And the
efforts of sinners to escape misery, without repentance and
works answerable thereto, will end in confusion.
Verses 14-17: The Lord would plead the cause of his people against
their evil neighbours. Yet he would afterwards show mercy to
those nations, when they should learn true religion. This seems
to look forward to the times when the fulness of the Gentiles
shall come in. Those who would have their lot with God's people,
and a last end like theirs, must learn their ways, and walk in