It is Time for Imprecatory Prayers!
The Imprecatory Prayers of Jeremiah
While I make no attempt to prove this assertion here, the prophet Jeremiah had a ministry of approximately 40 years among the second most obstinate generation of national Israel the world has seen.
[In my opinion, within the biblical record, the Jews of the time of the Lord Christ would have to qualify as the most obstinate:
And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
They were given an astonishing 3 years of the testimony and works of power of the Lord Christ Himself, but all they could think of was how to murder and destroy Him!]
One of the common themes in the early chapters of this great book of Jeremiah is how and why the prophet asked for the LORD’s vengeance.
If you search carefully, you’ll find that the LORD did not at any time rebuke Jeremiah for these prayers! In fact, as Jer 11 below shows, the LORD validated Jeremiah’s prayer!
Moreover, the LORD made it known to me and I knew it;
Then You showed me their deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter;
And I did not know that they had devised plots against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
And let us cut him off from the land of the living,
That his name be remembered no more.”
But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously,
Who tries the feelings and the heart,
Let me see Your vengeance on them,
For to You have I committed my cause.
Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, so that you will not die at our hand”; therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, I am about to punish them! The young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters will die by famine; and a remnant will not be left to them, for I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth—the year of their punishment.”
You who know, O Lord,
Remember me, take notice of me,
And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure reproach.
O Lord, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You will be put to shame.
Those who turn away on earth will be written down,
Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.
Let those who persecute me be put to shame, but as for me, let me not be put to shame;
Let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed.
Bring on them a day of disaster,
And crush them with twofold destruction!
But the Lord is with me like a dread champion;
Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed,
With an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.
These are powerful prayers!
They came not from a heart requesting personal vengeance but from a heart desirous to see the LORD feared and His law obeyed. Jeremiah experienced firsthand, throughout his life, both a level of hatred by the Jews and the obstinance of the Jews nearly as great as did the Lord Christ. He saw their great wickedness; in spite of decades of his warnings of “thus says the LORD”, the Jews of his day ignored the LORD (with the exception of only a tiny handful of people) and personally persecuted Jeremiah, even to the extent of seeking to murder him.
[Even when the dire prophecies of Jeremiah had been fulfilled to the letter, they still disobeyed as the events of chapters 40-44 detail.]
It should be evident to even the casual reader of this great book that Jeremiah’s prayers for vengeance were answered!