Jeremiah 12 … Consider Him Who Uproots and Restores

And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land,” (12:15).

Jeremiah does not hide his confusion. Things don’t make sense according to his assessment. Jeremiah knows God is righteous and believes He is just, but still he wonders what is going on. It’s the age-old question; “Why on earth do good things happen to bad people; why don’t the wicked get what they deserve?”

Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You;
Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?

And Jeremiah, who knows his God is Sovereign and knows if it weren’t for God these people would be nowhere near this physical place of blessing, cannot reconcile the reality that often in this life, those who practice treachery and deceit somehow seem to come out on top.

You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are near to their lips
But far from their mind,

And what makes it all the more perplexing and complicated, what exacerbates the disparity of it all in Jeremiah’s mind is the hypocrisy. And in this state, he reminds the Lord, as if He needed reminding, that his own heart is sincere before his Omniscient God, as if to say, “Lord, You know my walk matches my talk.”

But You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You…

And as Jeremiah makes his case against the ungodly, he makes a case for himself, that his heart is with God, devoted to Him in faith, convinced that God knows, sees and tests the veracity of his claims, and that God really should do something about those whose hearts are far from Him.

…Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!

And it’s interesting to note that God does not answer his question of why, but instead reminds Jeremiah to continue to run the course and stay strong because things are only going to get worse.

“If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
“For even your brothers and the household of your father,
Even they have dealt treacherously with you,
Even they have cried aloud after you.
Do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you,”

Ouch. Not the answer he was probably looking for. But from there, the Lord walks his faithful servant through what is surely coming, and it is not pretty; yes, like sheep being drug off for the slaughter.

And again, God lays out His case against this rebellious nation, a nation who were to be set apart to receive the blessing of His inheritance in a fruitful land. But rather then following Him in faith, they trampled His blessing in deceit, and now would be relegated to a place of desolation and mourning because no one took His warnings to heart.

“Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard,
They have trampled down My field;
They have made My pleasant field
A desolate wilderness.
11 “It has been made a desolation,
Desolate, it mourns before Me;
The whole land has been made desolate,
Because no man lays it to heart,”

But that would not be the end of His story for His people, or even for the pagan nations who had so brutally mistreated Israel. God’s promise of compassion and restoration lay in their future if they will but learn and listen to Him Who Uproots and Restores.

Consider Him Who Uproots and Restores

When Jeremiah writes of his heart’s attitude toward God being examined, he is referring to God’s testings that prove the state of his devotion.

“You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.”

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

examine: “974. בָּחַן bāḥan: A verb meaning to examine, to try, to prove. This verb can refer to any type of test…”

heart: “3820. לֵב lēḇ: A masculine noun usually rendered as heart but whose range of meaning is extensive… it usually refers to some aspect of the immaterial inner self or being since the heart is considered to be the seat of one’s inner nature as well as one of its components… it can be used of a specific aspect of personality: the mind… the will… the emotions…”

toward: “854. אֵת ʾēṯ: A preposition meaning with, against, near, among. It indicates closer proximity than the Hebrew ʿim (5973) [preposition meaning with, for, against, toward]. It may indicate together with, such as to walk with… or simply bunched together, included with… It is found often in the phrase ‘the people who were with him.’”

Through the testing of our faith, God examines and proves whether or not we are with Him in our mind, our will and our emotions. His test answers the best question we can ask, “Are we with Him by faith with all that we are?”

As for You, LORD, You know me;
You see me.
You test whether my heart is with You,
(12:3 HCSB).

If we belong to Him through faith, then throughout our life, He will test and prove the attachments of our heart, to Uproot where needed and to plant and Restore us in Him.

  • He Uproots our hypocrisy to Restore us in the place of sincerity of heart.
    • …You are near to their lips
      But far from their mind,
  • He Uproots our cynicism to Restore us in the place of confidence in His Sovereignty.
    • …Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending,” (12:4).
  • He Uproots our rebellion to Restore us in the place of His compassion and our inheritance.
    • “And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land,” (12:15).
  • He Uproots our willfulness to Restore us in the place of a teachable spirit.
    • “Then if they will really learn the ways of My people…” (12:16).
  • He Uproots our allegiance to false gods to Restore us in the place of maturing faith.
    • “…to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they will be built up in the midst of My people,” (12:16).
  • But He Will Uproot by destruction those who refuse to be Restored.
    • “But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord, (12:17).

How do we respond to Him Who Uproots and Restores?

If we have placed our faith in Christ for the payment of our sins, we know we will never be Uprooted by destruction.

But it is a serious matter to consider. The Lord does not desire our lip service or adherence to rituals. His desire is always a matter of the heart and that cannot be hidden from Him, for He sees, knows and examines every heart.

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice,
(Proverbs 21:2-3).

God’s desire for us is that we would have a heart that has been proven to be with Him.

As for You, LORD, You know me;
You see me.
You test whether my heart is with You,
(12:3 HCSB).

And Jesus was clear, there is no place for duplicity with Him. Our hearts cannot be in two places at once; they are either with Him or against Him.

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters,” (Matthew 12:30).

And once again, if we have been born again through faith in Christ, then we are with Him to gather and not scatter. But the enemy, the world’s pull, and our own flesh are constant, relentlessly enticing us to scatter our hearts and go after the desires of the flesh that are against the Spirit.

For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please, (Galatians 5:17).

As we walk by the Spirit in surrender and humble obedience, He will Uproot the desires of the flesh and He will Restore us to walk with Him in the place of His Light and undisturbed fellowship.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh, (Galatians 5:16).

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin, (1 John 1:5-7).

Lord, thank You that we can rest in our eternal security through the blood of Jesus. But Lord, we confess we are prone to wander. Father Uproot the deviating darkness and deceit from our heart. Lord, we need You to Restore us daily, that we would walk with You in the place of sincerity and confidence in Your Sovereignty, that we would dwell in fellowship with You in the place of Your compassion and our inheritance, and that we would persevere with You through a teachable spirit and maturing faith.

Lord, we so desire that our walk match our talk, and to stand before You, like Jeremiah, unafraid and eager for You to prove our faith in whatever test You should determine.

Lord, please don’t let us get bogged down with questions about others, but let us be more concerned with Your Uprooting and Restoring work needed in us. And Lord, please use us to share the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, that many would turn from refusing You, and would repent, be Uprooted from sin and Restored in You.

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time, (Acts 3:19-21).

And Lord, until You return from heaven to take us to be with You forever, please Uproot all that is not of You from our heart. Please prove our devotion and Restore us as You unite our heart to Your Truth to walk with You in reverent obedience as we fear Your Name through the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name,
(Psalm 86:11).

Let’s Grow Together!

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