Jeremiah 23:1–40 (NKJV)
23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. 3 “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
7 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.”
Jeremiah begins this chapter with two things: a decunciation of poor and delinquent shepherds and a promise of better shepherds and a righteous Deliverer. He will be a champion who will bring Israel back from its captivity in the North.
9 My heart within me is broken
Because of the prophets;
All my bones shake.
I am like a drunken man,
And like a man whom wine has overcome,
Because of the Lord,
And because of His holy words.
10 For the land is full of adulterers;
For because of a curse the land mourns.
The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up.
Their course of life is evil,
And their might is not right.
11 “For both prophet and priest are profane;
Yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord.
12 “Therefore their way shall be to them
Like slippery ways;
In the darkness they shall be driven on
And fall in them;
For I will bring disaster on them,
The year of their punishment,” says the Lord.
13 “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria:
They prophesied by Baal
And caused My people Israel to err.
14 Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:
They commit adultery and walk in lies;
They also strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one turns back from his wickedness.
All of them are like Sodom to Me,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
15 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets:
‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood,
And make them drink the water of gall;
For from the prophets of Jerusalem
Profaneness has gone out into all the land.’ ”
16 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They make you worthless;
They speak a vision of their own heart,
Not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They continually say to those who despise Me,
‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace” ’;
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
‘No evil shall come upon you.’ ”
18 For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord,
And has perceived and heard His word?
Who has marked His word and heard it?
19 Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord has gone forth in fury—
A violent whirlwind!
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.
In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
21 “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings.
23 “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord,
“And not a God afar off?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ 26 How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, 27 who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
The Lord brings railing accusations against the priests and prophets of Judah and Israel, accusing them of adultery, idolatry, and dereliction. They prophesy that the Jews are safe, and that no harm will come to them, when God’s judgment stood at the door. He compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah, and promises them gall and wormwood. He declares that if they had truly prophecied in His name, that God’s people would have repented and turned back to him. The people of God have forgotten their dreams and followed the lies of the prophets and priests who have prophecied and ministers false words.
28 “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream;
And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.
What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the Lord.
29 “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord,
“And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
30 “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who steal My words every one from his neighbor. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says.’ 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” says the Lord, “and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,” says the Lord.
33 “So when these people or the prophet or the priest ask you, saying, ‘What is the oracle of the Lord?’ you shall then say to them, ‘What oracle?’ I will even forsake you,” says the Lord. 34 “And as for the prophet and the priest and the people who say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ I will even punish that man and his house. 35 Thus every one of you shall say to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 And the oracle of the Lord you shall mention no more. For every man’s word will be his oracle, for you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 But since you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Because you say this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” and I have sent to you, saying, “Do not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ ” 39 therefore behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you and forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and will cast you out of My presence. 40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’ ”
In response to the prophets’ lies, the Lord declares a moratorium on oracles and prophetic words. He tells Jeremiah to instruct the prophets and the priests to speak no oracle in His name. When they do, the Lord says that He will forget the prophets and their city, and cast them out of His presence. There will be an everlasting reproach and shame. When God’s people believe a word that is not from God, their discernment is weak, off, useless. Therefore, it is imperative that Christians seek God for discernment and the ability to know truth from error, solid instruction from lies. Don’t believe everything you hear, but test it by the Word and by the Spirit. Lies lead to hell, but the truth will set you free!
Jeremiah 22:1–30 (NKJV)
22:1 Thus says the Lord: “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word, 2 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates! 3 Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you indeed do this thing, then shall enter the gates of this house, riding on horses and in chariots, accompanied by servants and people, kings who sit on the throne of David. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house shall become a desolation.” ’ ”
6 For thus says the Lord to the house of the king of Judah:
“You are Gilead to Me,
The head of Lebanon;
Yet I surely will make you a wilderness,
Cities which are not inhabited.
7 I will prepare destroyers against you,
Everyone with his weapons;
They shall cut down your choice cedars
And cast them into the fire.
8 And many nations will pass by this city; and everyone will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this great city?’ 9 Then they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.’ ”
10 Weep not for the dead, nor bemoan him;
Weep bitterly for him who goes away,
For he shall return no more,
Nor see his native country.
In this opening section of chapter 22, the Lord puts the king of Judah on notice that judgment is coming unless they act righteously in the nation. If they follow the instructions in verse 3, they will be spared. If not, they will be destroyed and people will shake their head in disbelief for what became of them. In this passage, we hear an outcry against nations that allow people to be plundered or oppressed, or that allow innocent blood to be shed. The lifestyle we allow to exist around us without an outcry against sin is just as reprehensible as the idolatry and lack of justice that was allowed in Judah. We must stand up for righteousness and cry out against sin, speaking the truth in love.
11 For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, who went from this place: “He shall not return here anymore, 12 but he shall die in the place where they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.
13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness
And his chambers by injustice,
Who uses his neighbor’s service without wages
And gives him nothing for his work,
14 Who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers,
And cut out windows for it,
Paneling it with cedar
And painting it with vermilion.’
15 “Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink,
And do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
Then it was well.
Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord.
17 “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness,
For shedding innocent blood,
And practicing oppression and violence.”
18 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
“They shall not lament for him,
Saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, my sister!’
They shall not lament for him,
Saying, ‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, his glory!’
19 He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey,
Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
20 “Go up to Lebanon, and cry out,
And lift up your voice in Bashan;
Cry from Abarim,
For all your lovers are destroyed.
21 I spoke to you in your prosperity,
But you said, ‘I will not hear.’
This has been your manner from your youth,
That you did not obey My voice.
22 The wind shall eat up all your rulers,
And your lovers shall go into captivity;
Surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated
For all your wickedness.
23 O inhabitant of Lebanon,
Making your nest in the cedars,
How gracious will you be when pangs come upon you,
Like the pain of a woman in labor?
The Lord leads Jeremiah to speak of a particular example of how God’s judgement is measured out on an idolatrous or oppressive king. He speaks again of the sin of shedding innocent blood. While there may be numerous examples of that sin (murder, euthanasia, genocide, unwarranted war), I believe that the scourge of abortion is a very evil action in the world today that may bring the judgment of God upon nations. Whatever we do as Christians, we must let our voices be heard and stand up for the innocent.
24 “As I live,” says the Lord, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; 25 and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear—the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. 27 But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return.
28 “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol—
A vessel in which is no pleasure?
Why are they cast out, he and his descendants,
And cast into a land which they do not know?
29 O earth, earth, earth,
Hear the word of the Lord!
30 Thus says the Lord:
‘Write this man down as childless,
A man who shall not prosper in his days;
For none of his descendants shall prosper,
Sitting on the throne of David,
And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ”
The Lord addresses Coniah, the king of Judah, as a last warning. He speaks of plucking him off and sending him to a land where he was not born, and leaving him childless and without an heir. This level of personal prophetic judgment speaks of God’s disgust with the condition of the nation. God, I am sure, is often disgusted with nations, and seeks to warn them of the impending doom associated with their actions. However, in a world where speaking the truth is called hate, we shy away from speaking strongly in favor of holiness and Godliness. Christians, stand up and be heard, for without us, there is no one to declare the gospel to a lost and dying world. Rise up and be heard, for without us, judgment is coming!
Jeremiah 21:1–14 (NKJV)
21:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying, 2 “Please inquire of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon makes war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all His wonderful works, that the king may go away from us.”
3 Then Jeremiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to Zedekiah, 4 ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who besiege you outside the walls; and I will assemble them in the midst of this city. 5 I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger and fury and great wrath. 6 I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they shall die of a great pestilence. 7 And afterward,” says the Lord, “I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, his servants and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence and the sword and the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and he shall strike them with the edge of the sword. He shall not spare them, or have pity or mercy.” ’
When Pashhur called for Jeremiah from his imprisonment, it was so King Zedekiah could get a positive prophecy concerning his defense of Judah from Babylon and Chaldea. However, Jeremiah reveals the truth that God Himself will fight against Judah and they will be taken into captivity.
8 “Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him. 10 For I have set My face against this city for adversity and not for good,” says the Lord. “It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.” ’
The Lord responds with instructions that will seal their fate. He gives them the way of life and the way of death. To live, they must go out and surrender to the Chaldeans, their enemies. If they defend themselves and fight against the Chaldeans, remaining in the city, they will die. Babylon will take Jerusalem and burn it with fire. There is no changing the course of these events. Judah is going into captivity, no doubt.
11 “And concerning the house of the king of Judah, say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David! Thus says the Lord:
“Execute judgment in the morning;
And deliver him who is plundered
Out of the hand of the oppressor,
Lest My fury go forth like fire
And burn so that no one can quench it,
Because of the evil of your doings.
13 “Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley,
And rock of the plain,” says the Lord,
“Who say, ‘Who shall come down against us?
Or who shall enter our dwellings?’
14 But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings,” says the Lord;
“I will kindle a fire in its forest,
And it shall devour all things around it.” ’ ”
This final passage poetically speaks of the impending judgment against Judah. God gave them ample opportunities to turn back to Him and live obediently. They continued to chase after idols and disobey God, which eventually leads to trouble. When you walk opposite the will of God, His plan is forsaken, and His protection is misplaced. Walk in unity and cooperation with God, so His plans, purpose, and prosperity are already there when you take every step. Don’t walk in uncharted territory, for you will not know what comes next, and you will walk at a distance from the Lord, rather than by His side. Follow the Leader!
Jeremiah 20:1–18 (NKJV)
20:1 Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.
3 And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib. 4 For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword. 5 Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. You shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die, and be buried there, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied lies.’ ”
The plots against Jeremiah came to fruition in this chapter. Pashhur, the governor, heard about Jeremiah’s prophecies and put him in stocks and struck him. When he brought Jeremiah before him the next day, Jeremiah renamed him with a name that meant, “fear on every side.” Jeremiah continued prophesying the plunder and defeat that would come on Judah, including exile to Babylon.
7 O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily;
Everyone mocks me.
8 For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”
Because the word of the Lord was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
9 Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.
10 For I heard many mocking:
“Fear on every side!”
“Report,” they say, “and we will report it!”
All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying,
“Perhaps he can be induced;
Then we will prevail against him,
And we will take our revenge on him.”
11 But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.
They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper.
Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.
12 But, O Lord of hosts,
You who test the righteous,
And see the mind and heart,
Let me see Your vengeance on them;
For I have pleaded my cause before You.
13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
For He has delivered the life of the poor
From the hand of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day in which I was born!
Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!
15 Let the man be cursed
Who brought news to my father, saying,
“A male child has been born to you!”
Making him very glad.
16 And let that man be like the cities
Which the Lord—overthrew, and did not relent;
Let him hear the cry in the morning
And the shouting at noon,
17 Because he did not kill me from the womb,
That my mother might have been my grave,
And her womb always enlarged with me.
18 Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow,
That my days should be consumed with shame?
After Jeremiah’s strong response to Pashhur, he laments the path God has placed before him in terms just as strong. He regrets the ridicule and mockery that comes his way as he prophecies, but describes the Word of the Lord within him as fire shut up in his bones, so powerful that He cannot hold it in. He is thankful that God is like a mighty warrior, defending him from his mockers. He asks the Lord to exact vengeance upon them, delivering his life. Yet he turns right around and curses the day he was born, wishing that he had died in the womb. He even declares a curse on the man who told his father of his birth! This is a picturesque example of Jeremiah as the weeping prophet, the reluctant prophet, who is compelled to declare the word of the Lord. Even when the work is dangerous, frustrating, or simply overwhelming, the calling is without repentance, irrevocable. If God has called you, serve with excellence, anointing, and integrity!
Notes from a sermon preached by Dr. Greg Sloop at the Kannapolis Church of God on Sunday, March 4, 2018 in the 10:30 am service. For video of service, go to the church website, http://www.kcog.org, and click on the livestream link for a replay of the service. For audio of the service, go the the website and click on the media page.
Who Is Your Neighbor?
The Love Source
The Love Example
The Love Origin
The Love Mandate
The Love Lie
The Love Logic
The Love Commandment
God, forgive me for not loving my known neighbors
God, give me the grace to mend relationships and be forgiven as I forgive
God help me to love selflessly as I follow Christ’s example.
God is Love. As He Loved Us, We Should Love Others
We are Commanded to Love One Another
You Cannot Love God Unless You Love One Another
Jeremiah 19:1–15 (NKJV)
19:1 Thus says the Lord: “Go and get a potter’s earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests. 2 And go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the Potsherd Gate; and proclaim there the words that I will tell you, 3 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle.
4 “Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents 5 (they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind), 6 therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that this place shall no more be called Tophet or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of those who seek their lives; their corpses I will give as meat for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. 8 I will make this city desolate and a hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its plagues. 9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and in the desperation with which their enemies and those who seek their lives shall drive them to despair.” ’
In this passage, the Lord once again proclaims judgment on Judah and Jerusalem, specifically speaking of the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. He had declared death in this valley in chapter 7, and is now revisiting the prophecy, using a new object to demonstrate the judgment to come. In chapter 7, God instructed Jeremiah to cut off his hair and cast it away, showing how God would cast away His people for their rebellion. In this chapter, he instructs Jeremiah to take a clay pot and destroy it. He again declares that the valley will no longer go by its name, but will be called the Valley of Slaughter, because of the death of so many from Judah.
10 “Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you, 11 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Even so I will break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Tophet till there is no place to bury. 12 Thus I will do to this place,” says the Lord, “and to its inhabitants, and make this city like Tophet. 13 And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Tophet, because of all the houses on whose roofs they have burned incense to all the host of heaven, and poured out drink offerings to other gods.” ’ ”
The image of the potter’s vessel signifies that Judah will be so utterly broken that it cannot be made whole again. Their houses will be defiled, and it is all because of their idolatry and burning their children in worship of Molech.
14 Then Jeremiah came from Tophet, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house and said to all the people, 15 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring on this city and on all her towns all the doom that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks that they might not hear My words.’ ”
Jeremiah goes to deliver the message to Judah, citing their stubborness as part of the cause of their judgment. Two sins come to light in this chapter: idolatry and rebellion. Be certain that God will not share the throne of your heart with another god. He is supreme and must be the only object of your worship. Do not ask God to share that space with anything or anyone else. He will not! Secondly, the sin of rebellion, as foolish and nonsensical as it is, will lead to the judgment of God as well. He will not be mocked. Don’t call yourself a Christian or a follower of God and live as though His commandments are not valid. He will not continue in covenant with covenant-breakers. Live in the covenant and be blessed. Live, Love, Obey!
Jeremiah 18:1–23 (NKJV)
18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” ’ ”
This well-known reference to the potter’s house speaks of many aspects of the sovereignty of God and the mercy of God. First, this passage refers to the potter (the Lord) shaping His people and directing them in life. However, He also points out that when the clay vessel does not follow the will of the potter, and has a bad spot or a hole or is misshapen, the potter will start over and reshape the vessel into something that He sees as its right form or destiny. He takes the analogy further by saying that He has the power to raise up or destroy nations, and even to replant if necessary. Therefore, following God leads to joy and blessings. Allowing Him to shape your future and your path is the way to success!
12 And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.”
13 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“Ask now among the Gentiles,
Who has heard such things?
The virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing.
14 Will a man leave the snow water of Lebanon,
Which comes from the rock of the field?
Will the cold flowing waters be forsaken for strange waters?
15 “Because My people have forgotten Me,
They have burned incense to worthless idols.
And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in pathways and not on a highway,
16 To make their land desolate and a perpetual hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished
And shake his head.
17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy;
I will show them the back and not the face
In the day of their calamity.”
In response to Jeremiah’s statement of the potter’s house prophecy, the people rebelled and said that they would follow their own way. The Lord responds by telling them that the alternative leads to stumbling, destruction, and mockery by surrounding nations.
18 Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us attack him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.”
19 Give heed to me, O Lord,
And listen to the voice of those who contend with me!
20 Shall evil be repaid for good?
For they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember that I stood before You
To speak good for them,
To turn away Your wrath from them.
21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine,
And pour out their blood
By the force of the sword;
Let their wives become widows
And bereaved of their children.
Let their men be put to death,
Their young men be slain
By the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses,
When You bring a troop suddenly upon them;
For they have dug a pit to take me,
And hidden snares for my feet.
23 Yet, Lord, You know all their counsel
Which is against me, to slay me.
Provide no atonement for their iniquity,
Nor blot out their sin from Your sight;
But let them be overthrown before You.
Deal thus with them
In the time of Your anger.
The people decided to “shoot the messenger.” They devised plans against Jeremiah, for they did not like His words of prophecy. They wanted to destroy Him, so Jeremiah cried out to God to let His prophecy come upon Jerusalem and Judah, and to even blot them out of His sight. Jeremiah had stood in the gap, had prophecied the way to be saved, but they did not receive the word of the Lord, but rather rebelled even more against it. So let them be judged, let them be doomed. I wonder sometimes, especially in nations and cities where the word of God is preached plenteously, if the judgment of God is not ready to fall on those who rebel against Him and live in sin and idolatry. Beware, and follow Him rather than others or self.