Jeremiah: A smashed pot
We are back in Jeremiah--a book that never makes for easy reading, but which God's people in every age need tob e challenged by.
Read Jeremiah 19
The hardened clay
We’re picking up the book of Jeremiah 18 chapters in. And, in summary, those have all been chapters of warning: a promise from the LORD that terrible judgment will fall on the people of Judah. It will be no help that they belong to God’s ancient people—their rebellion will be punished.
But in the potter’s studio (chapter 18), Jeremiah was told that God was free to change His mind if the people repented. God is like a potter, able to start over and remake a project after it was already underway. In the same way, God would forgive Judah and remake them if they would repent. If that weren’t true, then why would the LORD keep sending Jeremiah to warn the people? If God wasn’t willing to forgive, He could have just destroyed them a long time ago and saved a lot of ink!
- - Why is it good news for our world that God is this kind of "potter?"
- - Why is it a challenging reality?
Read Jeremiah 19 v 1-13
The image is a powerful one: you can reshape clay when it’s wet, but if a defective piece is dried, it’s useless. It can
only be smashed and thrown away
- - What is the Lord saying about Jerusalem's spiritual state?
- - What had the people of Jerusalem done to earn this kind of rebuke (v 4-5, 13)?
There are two ways of understanding the message of the broken pot. It could be that the LORD is saying that He’ll no longer accept any repentance from His people. On the other hand, it could be that the LORD is simply saying that the hardness of their hearts is such that they will never repent, and thus there is no hope of forgiveness.
Stiff necks and closed ears
Read verses 14-15
Another theme of the book of Jeremiah is God’s coming judgment of the religious establishment. Here, Jeremiah is in the temple, the place where God’s people could make sacrifices so they could enjoy relationship with, and blessing from, God.
- - But what did they now find the God of the temple giving them? Why?
- - Re-read verses 4-5. How does this help us see what it means to be "stiff-necked" (v 15)?
Ask God to forgive you for times you don't bow to Him. Ask Him to show you when you are about to be stiff-necked today, and to give you grace to live His way.
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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