Christ is a sure help to the children of Zion,
But if thou hast any false props to rely on,
Thy soul is deluded; think what thou art doing!
Oh, cast them away ere they sink thee in ruin!
For none but Jehovah has power to deliver
And bear up thy soul in the midst of the river.
The clouds gather blackness, the night is fast coming:
The river swells high and the billows are foaming.
On what wilt thou lean when thy strength is all wasted?
The reeds will all fail and thy hopes will be blasted.
O cry unto Jesus thy soul to deliver
And bear up thy spirit when crossing the river.
But in thy true character am I mistaken?
Hast thou in thy folly thy Savior forsaken?
O come again to Him for peace and for pardon,
Or soon thou must sink in the swellings of Jordan!
Thy soul from all danger He then will deliver,
And nothing will harm thee when crossing the river.
But if on His mercy thy soul is relying,
Thou hast nothing to fear, either living or dying.
The footmen and horses shall fall down before thee,
And Jordan shall open thy passage to glory:
And when thou art landed safe over the river,
We'll sing of salvation forever and ever.
(Jer. 12. 5)
'If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, how canst thou contend with horses?' Surely the meaning is clear. God is telling Jeremiah that if he has had difficulties in his service, that is not the end, there are more to follow. Worse things are to befall him; greater dangers he must meet. Already he has run with footmen, but now he must contend with horsemen. 'And if in a land of peace thou thinkest thyself in security, how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?' (J.N.D.) What does this mean? Certainly it has no reference to the death that awaits the sinner. Many a time has this verse been hurled at the unsaved at the street corner, but it has no reference to them. Jeremiah's condition under Josiah was comparatively one of peace. Under the godless kings to come how would he get on? His future difficulties would be like 'the swellings of Jordan' or 'the jungles of Jordan'. It would be hard to run there. His first sufferings were like a stream; his coming trials would be like a river in flood. Surely this was a discouraging prospect to God's servant. True, but God's servant must learn and learn again that his resource is in God alone.—A. L. Goold
(Jer. 12. 5)