This is from the blog Kevin Lotz:
Jeremiah 12: 7-13: "I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it. Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart. The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD." (King James Version)
In the previous two passages, Jeremiah:
- uncovers a conspiracy to kill him, and the Lord reiterating His promise to protect Jeremiah and punish those involved in the plot (11:18-23)
- asks the Lord the bigger question of “why does evil flourish?” and God provides an unexpected answer of “take heart; it’s going to get worse” (12:1-6)
On first reading of today’s passage, it appears the Lord has moved on to a new topic. Upon further investigation, however, we discover that today’s passage links to the previous two passages. In essence, the Lord is saying to Jeremiah, “your personal experience of betrayal, heartbreak, and rebellion is just a small taste of what I am experiencing right now.”
In particular, Jeremiah’s family speaking kindly to his face but plotting his demise (v. 6) provides the context for verse 7, where Judah speaks the Lord’s name but worships the foreign gods. The Lord uses verbal imagery of a father talking about his daughter (“my inheritance”, speaking of Judah in general and Jerusalem in particular) in verses 7 – 9.
God loves His whole household (Judah) and this daughter (Jerusalem) more than words can express. The pain the Lord feels over the self-destruction of the home and the daughter’s shameful behavior break the Father’s heart. The consequences are inevitable.
When the Lord says, “therefore I hate her” (his daughter Jerusalem) in verse 8, he is expressing the heart-breaking effects of betrayal and defiance. We often associate love as the opposite of hate. In fact, the opposite of love is indifference. The Lord is saying, “I love you more than you could ever know. I hate what you have become and the choices you have made when I have loved you faithfully your entire life. It breaks my heart.”
In verse 9, the Lord further expresses His heartbreak as He sees His beautiful daughter go from an honored princess and example of good to the world to being ridiculed and robbed by those whom she chose to associate.
Verses 10 – 13 depict the destruction that will take place at the hands of the invaders from the north. Th destruction will include the towns and villages all over Judah, as well as the fields and crops that provided their food and living.
May we remember that whatever profound emotions we feel when we are hurt, lied to, and betrayed by those whom we love, the Lord has experienced those same realities at the city, national, and world level. Indeed, He has walked in our shoes before we have, and still chooses to love His children despite their waywardness.
May we choose to love others unconditionally as He loves us, as we were once His enemies when we walked our selfish path in defiance, rejection, and betrayal of Him.