Jousting with Judgment
(Jeremiah 10:1-25; 11:1-23; 12:1-17)
Two Knights Jousting
By Friedrich Martin von Reibisch
Today’s Bible readings, found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, focus again on the perils of pagan worship, the sole divinity of Jehovah God and the coming captivity of His people.
The prophet Jeremiah warned the people of Israel of the dangers of provoking the Lord’s anger by worshipping idols and following the ungodly practices of the foreign nations around them.
In his frustration at the people’s unfaithfulness and recoiling from death threats against his own life, the weeping prophet questioned the Lord’s judgment:
“You are always righteous, O 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, O 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.’"
(Jeremiah 12:1-4, NIV, emphasis added)
The Lord answered Jeremiah’s lament, vowing to bring His divine discipline to the unfaithful and His judgment upon the wicked. Even then, however, the Lord promised to preserve all those who remained fully devoted to Him.
Do we find it frustrating to see the unfaithful seeming to prosper, while the most faithful may seem to struggle?
How cavalierly we may question the Lord’s justice. Perhaps we are actually evaluating His timing, for He has deliberately declared that the day will come when His judgment will be pronounced, and His justice will prevail.
Until then, will we joust with God’s justice?
In medieval times, knights would mount horses for jousting tournaments. Clad in burdensome suits of armor, these equestrian warriors would face one another. Each knight would spur his horse towards his opponent. Pointing a long, heavy lance, he would attempt to unseat his challenger. Often, as in the artwork included here, both knights would be toppled and injured.
Who is harmed most when we question the Lord?
Surely God is not affected by our arguments. He is not compromised by our complaints.
But we certainly may be.
Will you pray with me?
You are holy and righteous
Teach us to trust You
For Your timing,
For You have promised
Both justice and mercy
For all who belong