“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you …” (Jeremiah 12:5-6).
It’s time to man up. This isn’t the 1950s anymore. The ’50s were the “safe land” of verse 5. Now comes “the thicket of the Jordan.” Half a century ago, opposition to Christians and the gospel wasn’t too bad—it was like “racing with men on foot.” Things have ratcheted up, so that today we “compete with horses.”
Jeremiah has just questioned God’s justice in not punishing the wicked more forcefully (verses 1-4), but God turns the questions on the prophet: If you are whining when you experience a little bit of opposition in your two-horse hometown of Anathoth, what will you do in the big city of Jerusalem?
God has similar words for Jeremiah’s friend and scribe Baruch in Jeremiah 45. Baruch is complaining that this impending Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem presents great difficulties in his personal life. Is that so, the Lord replies:
“You said, ‘Woe is me! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest. … Thus says the LORD: Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up—that is, the whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not …’” (Jeremiah 45:1-5).
It is time for men to be men. Already, leaders of our American people are caving, buckling under the pressure, preferring the praises of men to the praise that comes from God. Yet our lives are soft and full of compromise and bereft of serious Bible study and prayer. Some of us will say, “It’s true my spiritual life is a bit sloppy now. But when the real crisis comes, and the feds invade the churches, I’ll be ready to resist.”
Dr. Michael Brown, a Jewish Christian evangelist who tours the world warning about the gay activist agenda against freedom, has a good analogy for that attitude. He says it’s like not being able to climb a flight of stairs without puffing, and then thinking you’ll be ready for the marathon when it comes.
The Lord says it’s time to “work out your salvation” now. There will be no time to practice your sprinting when the sound of horse hooves is just over the next hill.