Jeremiah 12

Talks for Growing Christians

The Age-Old Question

Jeremiah 12

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Lesson Number 12

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God does not fully answer the age-old question about the wicked.
  2. God does fully answer the age-old question about Israel.

Practical Application

  1. Trust the Lord with your hard, unanswered questions!


  1. What was the specific question Jeremiah asked God?
  2. What was God’s partial answer to Jeremiah’s question?
  3. God does answer two primary questions that people continue to ask today about Israel. He gives both an answer of “bad news” and an answer of “good news” in this chapter. What are His two answers concerning Israel?
  4. Who is represented by the phrase, “the sword of the LORD” in this chapter?
  5. What will be the determining factor in God’s future and final dealing with the nations who have been enemies of Israel?


  1. In verse 1, Jeremiah asked God, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously” (vs. 1)? Today Christians still ask why God allows those who give “lip service” to Him, and those who are wicked, to prosper.
  2. God told Jeremiah that things would get even worse, and that he would have even more questions about why God allows evil to exist. For us, the Bible does give some answers to this question: God does give common grace to all people (Matt. 5:45; Luke 6:35). While God is not the source of evil, He can use evil to accomplish His sovereign plans and purposes (Psalm 76:10). God has made it clear that the wicked will not prosper forever. All evil will ultimately be removed.
  3. God’s answer of “bad news” is that Israel will be forsaken and rejected because they had broken the covenant with Him (vs. 7, 8). His answer of “good news” is that Israel will be restored as a secular nation in their ancient homeland, and will be spiritually restored to the Lord (vs. 14, 15). God’s Word clearly answers these questions: Is God finished with Israel? No! Is the Church the new Israel? No!
  4. The sword of the Lord, namely the Babylonian armies, would be wielded against Israel because of the anger of the Lord (vs. 12, 13).
  5. The other ancient nations will be restored and will be blessed as long as they recognize the state of Israel and the God of Israel (vs. 15-17). See more about these conditions of our Lord’s future earthly kingdom in Zechariah 14:16-19.


  1. The prophecy of Israel’s restoration was partially fulfilled when the Jews returned from their 70 year Babylonian captivity. We know that under the edict of Cyrus in 539 BC, other captive nations were permitted to return to their homeland as well as the Jews. But verses 15 and 16 will ultimately be fulfilled with the return of the Lord and the establishment of His earthly millennial kingdom.


  1. As Jeremiah asked a question about the wicked which was not fully answered by God, so we today often ask a similar question: “Why do the wicked around me prosper more than the righteous?” Can you, like Habbakuk (2:4), learn that “the just shall live by faith,” even when your hard questions are not fully answered? Don’t lose heart and don’t lose faith. Continue to trust the Lord.

Key Verses

  • “Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone to his land.” Jeremiah 12:15

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