There is a place for us to stand in the council of the Lord. Today, that comes in the still small voice, the Holy Spirit that is our teacher, comforter, friend. Jeremiah was pure in heart and yet, they plotted against him. Jesus said in Luke 6:22–23 “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For their fathers used to do the same things to the prophets”. And just as Jeremiah had questions about the way of the wicked, Jesus told us in John 16:33 “I have said these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction, but have courage! I have conquered the world”. Our place is to Colossians 3:1 “seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God”.
I Did Not Know They Planned Against Me
It says in Jeremiah 11:18 “Yahweh let it be made known to me” and here, there was something happening behind the scenes that Jeremiah needed to know. Jeremiah 11:19 gives his description of himself as “a gentle ram-lamb that is brought to slaughter”, willingly following as they led him where they wanted him to be so they could kill him “and I did not know that they planned plans against me”. And now, Jeremiah intercedes for himself in
Jeremiah 11:20 “But O Yahweh of hosts, who judges in righteousness, who tests the inmost being, and the mind, let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have revealed my legal case”.
But none of this would be possible unless “the prophet appeared in the divine throne room, where the council met and decrees were issued (Kingsbury, “Prophets and the Council of Yahweh”; Nissinen, “Prophets and the Divine Council”). Isaiah was taken to the throne-room of Yahweh (Isa 6:1–8), and the throne of the LORD came to Ezekiel (Ezek 1:1–14, 26–28). Jeremiah was called by the word of the Lord (Jer 1:4). This word was Yahweh (Jer 1:6–7), but was embodied in human form (Jer 1:9)”.1
Even more now that Christ has come, it says in
Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore let us approach with confidence to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
We might expect that those that knew Jeremiah best would be his strongest supporters, but “Jeremiah was born in Anathoth (Jer 1:1). It was here that he began to prophesy and here that the people of Anathoth rebuked him because he had accused them of breaking the covenant and had prophesied that evil would come upon them”.2
But this is as Jesus said in
Mark 6:4 ‘And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own household.”’
Why Does the Way of the Wicked Succeed?
Jeremiah has just described himself as a gentle ram for the slaughter. We might describe him as innocent, or maybe better as one with no guile and with this perspective we might better understand his question in
Jeremiah 12:1 ” You will be in the right, O Yahweh, when I complain to you. Even so, let me speak my claims with you. Why does the way of the wicked succeed? All those who deal treacherously with treachery are at ease”.
And we might want an empathetic answer from the Lord, a pat on the head that says, I know it has been hard. But that isn’t what Jeremiah gets. The Lord says put on your strength because you haven’t faced the battle yet in
Jeremiah 12:5 “If you run with foot soldiers and they have made you weary, then how will you compete with horses? If you have fallen in a peaceful land, then how will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?
The Lord goes on and says there isn’t anyone you can expect to depend on in Jeremiah 12:6 “even your relatives, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, even they call loudly after you. You must not trust in them”.
We sometimes forget that the “knowledge of good and evil” has entered the world. This “gentle ram”, this innocent, this one with no guile, just like us, must stand in the face of evil until the day of the Lord described in Isaiah 2:12, “Is 13:6, 9. Je. 46:10. Eze. 13:5. Am. 5:18. Mal. 4:5. 1 Co. 5:5. 1 Th. 5:2”3
They are Deluding You With Visions of Their Mind
If They Had Stood in My Council
There is a “storm of Yahweh … a whirling tempest … upon the head of the wicked” in Jeremiah 23:19. There are times when we don’t understand what the Lord is doing and we may pray and ask and in Jeremiah 23:20 it “will not turn back until his doing and until his keeping the plans of his mind”. There is no prayer or intercession that will change this. But, he also goes on to say in Jeremiah 23:20 “In latter days you will look closely at it with understanding”. It is always easier for us to understand what happened after the fact.
But that doesn’t mean the Lord didn’t try to tell us beforehand because in
Amos 3:7 “Surely my Lord does not do anything unless he has revealed his secret to his servants the prophets”.
And even right here, there is a warning to those that say they are prophets in
Jeremiah 23:22 “But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have caused them to turn from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds”.
So They Profit Not This People at All
I Myself Have Given All These Lands
Bring Your Necks Under the Yoke of the King and Live
- Jeremiah 11:18–23 I Did Not Know They Planned Against Me
- Jeremiah 12:1–6 Why Does the Way of the Wicked Succeed?
- Jeremiah 23:19–29 If They Had Stood in My Council
- Jeremiah 11:18-23
- Jeremiah 12:1-6
- Jeremiah 23:9-40
- Jeremiah 27:1:15
- 1. Heiser, M. S. (2016). Divine Council. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 2. Peterson, J. L. (1992). Anathoth (Place). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 1, p. 227). New York: Doubleday.
- 3. Blayney, B., Scott, T., & Torrey, R. A. with Canne, J., Browne. (n.d.). The Treasury of Scripture knowledge (Vol. 1, p. 432). London: Samuel Bagster and Sons.