Day 83: Taking Over Someone Else’s Nest Eggs

Jeremiah 17:11-18

As the partridge that sits on eggs which she has not laid,
so is he who gets riches, and not by right.
In the middle of his days, they will leave him.
At his end, he will be a fool.
A glorious throne, set on high from the beginning,
is the place of our sanctuary.
Yahweh, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you will be disappointed.
Those who depart from me will be written in the earth,
because they have forsaken Yahweh,
the spring of living waters.
Heal me, O Yahweh, and I will be healed.
Save me, and I will be saved;
for you are my praise.
Behold, they ask me,
“Where is Yahweh’s word?
Let it be fulfilled now.”
As for me, I have not hurried from being a shepherd after you.
I haven’t desired the woeful day. You know.
That which came out of my lips was before your face.
Don’t be a terror to me.
You are my refuge in the day of evil.
Let them be disappointed who persecute me,
but let not me be disappointed.
Let them be dismayed,
but don’t let me be dismayed.
Bring on them the day of evil,
and destroy them with double destruction.

It’s a bit surprising that God has Jeremiah bring up money in this passage isn’t it? Even if it’s symbolic, it does tell us something about those who get money in a wrong way. Here we read Jeremiah compare those who get money the wrong way to a partridge that decides to take over another bird’s nest by merely sitting on it. Evidently, there were those in Israel who were taking the produce of others by force somehow, and expecting to keep it. God was making it clear to them that their nest eggs would be taken from them in the end and they would be proven to be fools.

I think it’s important to talk about how this specifically applies to us today. The Bible talks about a couple of evils regarding money that are quite commonly overlooked today. They are “legal” methods of taking the produce of others. One is by using excessive interest (see Proverbs 28:8). Credit card companies often charge 22% interest. The Bible has a name for this. It’s usury. We should not participate in charging excessive interest, even if it gives us a better retirement. Those who work for money should be the ones getting it, not those who figure out crafty ways to charge interest. Another way to take the produce of others is through excessive taxation (see Psalm 89:22, Amos 5:11-12). Those who live off of the government instead of doing the work they are capable of doing may appear to be poor but are actually rich people who are living off of the labor of others. The same goes for politicians who continuously seek ways to increase their power by finding more ways to tax their own people.

Jeremiah reminds us, here, that God is supposed to be our hope, not our “nest egg.” The reason people are tempted to steal is because they don’t trust in the One who will help them though the hard times. Jeremiah was a man of faith and it did appear that he was getting beat up for standing up for God. Looking from the outside, it would have been pretty hard to argue that Jeremiah’s way was better. Jeremiah calls for justice again in this passage by asking for those who were doing these things to be given “double destruction.” It may not seem like a nice thing to ask, but look at what the current circumstances were illustrating. If God were to allow these things to continue, He would be saying that it is better to take what you can from the poor for your own benefit than to be like that crazy man Jeremiah! Look what happened to him! Once again, God answers him in the next passage.