David Pawson - Jeremiah Part 1
Thoughtful Thoughts 6.12.19 Jeremiah Part 1
The background story...
We continue where we left off last time, with Jehoahaz being taken off into exile...
The Babylonians put Josiah’s other son, Eliakim, on the throne, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. It says he too did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Nebuchadnezzar allowed him to be king on condition he paid tribute. After three years he got fed up with that idea and rebelled by withholding the tribute which he had agreed to pay. So, Nebuchadnezzar returned and took Jehoiakim off to Babylon as well, and put his son, Jehoiachin, on the throne instead, requiring he pay the tribute. Unfortunately, he too learned nothing it says He too did evil in the Lord’s eyes and after three more months Nebuchadnezzar returned and deposed him too. This time Nebuchadnezzar took everything of value from the palace and the temple. Nebuchadnezzar left the poor to farm the land, and put the uncle of Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, in charge, as a vassal king, to maintain order over what remained. Even after all that had happened, Zedekiah carried on doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, and so it says God thrust the people out of His presence, (Kings 24:20).
Jeremiah lived through the entire sorry episode and when we look at Lamentations, we will be witnessing his tears in written form over the invasions and exile to Babylon.
The potter and the clay...
So, now we come to Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry … Jeremiah was given a visual parable. God told him to visit a potter. He then saw the potter struggling to make something beautiful out of a lump of clay, even though he tried. He failed because the clay could not be made to be moulded into shape. In the end, he reworked the clay into a cheap disposable pot, as that was all he could do with it. Later on, it was smashed and thrown into the city rubbish tip.
Then, God asked Jeremiah if he understood the meaning of what He was showing him. God explained that just as the potter tried to make something beautiful out of the clay, so too God had tried to make something beautiful out of the Israelites. As the clay could not be used to make a thing of beauty, it was instead used to make a disposable common pot, to be discarded after use. Judah was like that by not allowing God to make it into something beautiful, so it would end up being just another pot to be thrown away.
So, the clay represented hearts… The response, or lack of response of people, determined what God could do. When the clay did not respond in the potter’s hands, that represented hearts that would not respond to God. The potter had no choice about what to make out of the clay because the clay limited him. In the same way, God was left with no choice about what He could make out of Israel. God had already exiled the northern 10 tribes for that reason, so now too He would exile the remaining two southern tribes for the same reason. Their unfaithfulness would result in God bringing disaster on the people, just as He had originally kept His promise to bless them if they were faithful. God originally accepted their promises to be faithful and delivered on that basis. We need to take God seriously.
Jeremiah prophecied a much wider and broader Covenant was coming, which would be for all those who would willingly and individually accept God. But that is not this week’s story. I just mention it so we don’t finish on a negative, which is hard to do this time as Jeremiah’s message gave him the title, “The Weeping Prophet”. Jeremiah’s message tells us to take God’s warnings seriously, as well as His blessings.
In the same way, Jesus gave us as many warnings as He did blessings, which we ignore at our peril. Jesus called them “woes”. Our problem is we don’t want to hear them. So-called “Promise Box” texts don’t mention the warning promises, which is what makes them so popular. Bible study notes tend not to mention them, and almost no sermons mention them. We should be taking as much notice of the warnings which we don’t want to hear, as we take of the promises which we do want to hear, which is why we need to read the Bible for ourselves. If we are selective in what we will accept from Jesus, we are censoring Him, and if we disobey His warnings, we are going to be in a real pickle. However, it’s not all bad news as there is good news in Jeremiah too, but that’s for next week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlELf7iG2tc
I’m John Dunning and that’s Thoughtful Thoughts for another week.
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