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CHAPTER 18 —WHAT a POWERFUL word picture God has given us today. Have you ever done pottery, molded things with play-dough, or things like that? IF you have, you know you control the outcome. For me…. I discovered I was not a very good potter…..my clay went EVERYwhere…..seriously!! Each time I think about my experience I can imagine God, the supreme potter, molding us and shaping us…..seeing the marred clay (marred by our OWN CHOICES) in HIS HANDS and making a NEW CREATION!! “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it AS IT SEEMED BEST TO HIM.”
Did you notice what the Scripture did NOT say? It does NOT say God gave up and tossed it. It does NOT say he patched it, or fixed it. It says HE MADE a NEW POT from the same clay!!! When we are marred or broken, if we allow ourselves to be in the hands of God, he doesn’t just fix us, He makes us completely new. A new Creation. The key is CHOOSING to ALLOW HIM to mold us, or NOT to mold us. After all we are HIS, aren’t we. This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! ” HOW are we REALLY NEW CREATIONS????? Because on this side of the cross….the Holy Spirit DWELLS inside of us…..we have HIS heart….now what are we going to allow HIM to do with us?
After that God does tell them that disaster is coming. Most of the time if we are in the Word, or in God’s presence, we won’t be shocked when discipline comes.
Verse 7-8 — IF at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and IF THAT NATION I warned REPENTS of its evil, THEN I will RELENT and not inflict on it the disaster I had PLANNED.” Once again in this Scripture…God is giving HIS people of Judah a WAY OUT, but HE also recognizes THEY WILL REFUSE to let get of their own ways and plans!! (OUCH!!)
The destruction is already happening around Judah. They had watched Israel go into captivity and exiled to Assyria at least 100 years prior to what we are now reading. God has warned and is warning them of what will come through several prophets…..this time it is through Jeremiah. OYE VAY!!
Verse 11 — “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a PLAN against you. So TURN from your evil ways, each one of you, and REFORM your WAYS and your ACTIONS.’ 12 BUT they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own PLANS; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”
Proverbs 19:21 says: “Many are the PLANS in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
We all have our own plans don’t we? We make our own agendas, right? But are we diligent in making sure our plans line up with the Word of God and with what God has for us? Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the PLANs I have for you, plans to prosper you and to give you a hope and a future.” I think this is such a powerful PROMISE from God…but HOW do we KNOW HIS plans for us? We ask HIM. We ASK HIM to reveal it to us….first by reading HIS Word to make sure the plans line up with HIS Word. Second we ASK HIM to SHOW us….maybe through HIS still small voice speaking to our Spirit that dwells within us…..maybe through a heart’s desire you have had for a long, long time but have not acted on possibly due to fear, doubt, or because it seems impossible….maybe HE will show us/you/me through a vision or a dream during our sleep. BUT I KNOW….HE WANTS us to ASK and HE wants us to have clarity of purpose. ASK and EXPECT and answer….it may take time…but it will come…then once we know the plan…..we must take action.
Judah was being TOLD the PLAN from God through Jeremiah. Yet God knew they were not willing to give up THEIR PLANS in exchange for HIS PLANS.
CHAPTER 19 — Jeremiah is told by God, once again to provide another word picture with a clay pot SHOWING them what will happen to them. NONE of us like bad new, change, or to have precious things taken away from us. However, God does use ALL things for the good to those who are called according to HIS purpose. BUT…when God in HIS loving kindness…..WARNS us to get our attention….HE also DESIRES that we will TURN TO HIM…DEPEND ON HIM….GROW our FAITH in HIM….allow HIS GLORY to show in all circumstances. NOT an easy thing to do, but when we rely totally on HIM for all things……we can see miraculous outcomes….answered prayers……and through our weaknesses God is glorified when we allow HIM to MOLD us.
When Jeremiah preached he spoke in places that would bring large crowds, one of them being the Temple, the other being the Valley of Ben Hinnom. Both were places of FALSE worship. Pashhur was put in charge of maintaining the Temple, and he was also PRETENDING to be a prophet. After hearing Jeremiah’s message he had him beaten and locked in stocks. (Broke my heart to read this!!)
These prophecies all came true in 3 waves. First, in 605 BC, then Passhur was probably exiled to Babylon in the second wave, 597 BC and last the final invasion in 586 BC.
Chapter 21 and 22. First, the Passhur noted here is not the same as the one on Chapter 20. Just an FYI.
The next 5 Chapters are not in Chronological order regarding the Judgment against the Kings. God gives these evil kings a chance to do right. Change your ways and be rescued. King Josiah (good king) had died already in the Battle of Megiddo and his son Jehoahaz has reigned for only 3 months before being captured and taken to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco. Remember God promised Josiah that he would not go into captivity or live to see it happen to Judah. However, not only did his son see Judah fall and be taken captive and exiled, Jehoahaz was the first king to die in captivity!! But God tells us not to weep for the dead kings (weeping will not change their destination.) However, while people are alive we do have a responsibility to SHARE what The Lord has done for us, SHARE the Word in a loving way so more people will come to know God ANd spend all eternity with HIM. Josiah would live in the presence of The Lord for ALL eternity. However, his son would NOT.
CHAPTER 21 — he speaks of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. Jehoiakim never listened to God, not even as a child. He was the last king of David’s line to sit in Judah (refer back to your lists). He had 7 sons, but none of them reigned. We see a NEW person come on the scene….King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (21:2.) I am sure you noticed that this chapter was FILLED with PROPHECY…..FILLED. We are also beginning to see a shift in the great power of Assyria with Babylon growing in strength and power. God WILL had Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar…they made their choices…..warning were not listened to…..consequences will come.
In CHAPTER 22 a king is described not by how much cedar he owned, but as a defender of the poor and the needy.
As challenging as this may be to read there are many things we can learn from Judah’s behavior.
God is calling us to HIM. As Christians we are part of the UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT because of ALL JESUS CHOSE to do for us on the CROSS and in HIS resurrection. God will NEVER forsake us.
For some of us, God does allow us to be taken into captivity to get our attention, to place us in the right direction, on the right track. He also allows us to experience discipline because He loves us and WANTS us to grow more in HIS image and bring GLORY to HIM….especially through our hard times.
Are you a fence rider (one foot on the side of The Lord and the other foot following the world)?? If so, what will it take for you to be SOLD OUT to GOD…the ONE TRUE GOD? What is God asking you to do? I KNOW…..you can hear HIS still small voice.
If you don’t know HIS PLAN for you, have you ASKED and KEPT on ASKING until the answer was/is clear.
Do you give God time….YOUR time….so you can READ HIS Word, KNOW HIS Word, KNOW HIM as the LOVING God HE is who desires the VERY BEST for YOU. Prayer does not have to be long, nor does reading HIS Word…..it just needs to BE a part of your day…..read one verse…research one word that stands out to you. AND God is so gracious and kind that HE LOVES for us to pray to HIM ANYtime…in your car driving to work, waiting on your children after school, as you prepare dinner, as you take your shower……. HE already KNOWs what is on your heart…..HE simply wants to KNOW that you KNOW. HE created us. We are HIS….HE is waiting to hear your voice and in turn, in HIS time……you will KNOW HIS still small voice.
Sharing HIS love,