Material Success and Failure (Jeremiah 5)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
Acknowledgement of gods provision jeremiah 5

Does God withhold material success from those who do evil in his sight? Jeremiah says what few modern Christians would dare to say: the lack of God’s provision might be a sign that your work is not approved by God. God withheld the rains from Judah because of the sin of its inhabitants. “Your iniquities have turned these [the rains] away, and your sins have deprived you of good” (Jer. 5:25). The prophet did not say that all cases of lack of provision or success are signs of God’s judgment. This is one of the open issues Jesus addressed almost 600 years later when he said that the man born blind was not blind as a sign of God’s judgment (John 9:2-3). Moreover, God even provides material good for those who are evil. God “causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous,” according to Jesus (Matthew 5:45). From the book of Jeremiah we can say only that material success depends on God’s provision, and that God may — at least at times — withhold material success from those who practice injustice and oppression.[1] The real question is, “Would it be a good thing for me or not, if God were to take away the incomes of the unjust and oppressors?”