1 You are always righteous, 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?
2 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.
This chapter has the title Jeremiah’s Complaint, but could just as easily had the title Jeremiah’s Question. It is a question heard throughout the Old Testament about why the wicked seem to prosper and live at ease while clearly being so unfaithful. It is not unusual to hear it in our own time today as well.
One of the reasons, likely the primary reason this question comes up so often is that the Lord is slow to anger and always looking to forgive if an individual or a people will repent and change their ways. However, if they do not repent and change their ways – look out. God provides such an answer to Jeremiah as this chapter concludes with
14 This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16 And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people. 17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.
In Jeremiah’s question he notes the wicked and faithless when it comes to the Lord, He is always on their lips but far from their hearts. Key word is always here. I believe any Christian will not and then find himself or herself praying with the Lord on their lips, but far from their heart. It is something to be watchful of and to look for and to avoid as much as possible. We want the Lord to be not only on our lips, but also close to our hearts anytime we mention His name or the name of His Son.
If we should wonder today about how the wicked seem to prosper and live a life of ease we should remember things are not always what they seem and how we can look forward to the next life and they can only fear the next life. Additionally, there is an incredible amount of unhappiness for those who seem to prosper and live a life of ease. Suicides are rampant among them. Look here and here and here and it becomes painfully obvious they all had holes in their lives God could have filled, but they chose another path, a path leading to suicide.
Knowing Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior and reflecting on the same on a regular basis keeps the Lord both on our lips and in our hearts because of the peace He brings to our lives. We wonder at our Heavenly Father’s incredible Free Gift of Grace through His Son and are thankful for it.