God repairs His people
Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
God illustrates His truth to His people
It is God showing Jeremiah how to explain God’s message to God’s people Jeremiah 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
God will teach truth using everyday pictures for His people Jeremiah 18:2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
Jeremiah saw the potter working with the clay Jeremiah 18:3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
The center of the story is not the clay but the potter who is at work
The potter is in charge and the clay has His full attention
The clay had a problem Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
It was the potter that had gathered the clay
When the potter found the problem, He didn’t throw the clay away
He just reworked the clay into something that pleased Him
Was there something in clay that needed to be removed or was the clay too hard to work with?
Regardless, the potter continued working with the clay
Think of the work of the potter
He dug up mud and made something beautiful from it
The clay couldn’t make itself into anything of value
The potter shows loving attention to the clay
The potter decides what to make from the clay
The marred clay isn’t thrown away. Instead, He remakes something of value from it
Then the Lord makes it clear that He is speaking of the nation of Israel and how He is at work with His people Jeremiah 18:5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
God wants the nation of Israel to know that He can do with a nation anything He wants to do Jeremiah 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
God rules over the nations
Jeremiah is to tell them that just like the potter is in charge of the clay, God is in charge of the nation
God reminds the nation that He really just wants them to do right Jeremiah 18:8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
The nation will determine what God does with them
If they disobey, God will not do the good He wants to do Jeremiah 18:9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
This preaching, this challenge, should cause them to turn from their evil and do right Jeremiah 18:11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
The people chose to go their own way Jeremiah 18:12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
They chose not to trust God, no hope that He would really work
They decided they knew best, not God
They imagined from a proud heart that didn’t need God
God warns His people
God is in charge
They decide to repent or rebel
God wants the best for them but they continue in their rebellion
God responds to their rebellion
Hard to believe that God’s people would treat God the way they are Jeremiah 18:13 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.
Even the pagans know that Israel is treating God horribly
No one else treats their god like Israel is treating God Jeremiah 18:14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?
Would anyone walk away from their source of life?
Would anyone leave the most refreshing part of their life?
Israel, Judah, God’s people, have done that
God’s people have turned from Him to nothingness Jeremiah 18:15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;
God’s people walked away from Him to worship emptiness
These false gods cause God’s people to stumble
God’s people are out of the highway of blessing and on side roads that lead to hurt and pain
God’s response is to leave them to the consequences of their decisions Jeremiah 18:17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
God will scatter His people, they will be taken from their land into captivity
God will not answer them when they are hurting
Instead of blessing, God will show them His back
The people hated the messenger because of his message Jeremiah 18:18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices 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 smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.
They get together and plan to destroy Jeremiah
They will do it with false accusations and gossip
They are determined to not obey the preached word
What does God say about us right now?
Does our rebellion shock even the pagans?
Are we looking for love in all the wrong places?
Do we say that the Word of God doesn’t work for us?
Jeremiah responds to the people
Jeremiah calls on God to watch what is happening Jeremiah 18:19 Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.
The real contention wasn’t with Jeremiah, but with God
Jeremiah took too much on himself as he tries to get God to take care of him
Jeremiah wants God to remember his good works Jeremiah 18:20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.
God will you let them do me wrong after I tried to help them
They want to hurt me
Remember that I spoke to you asking your blessings on them
So now I am mad and want them dead Jeremiah 18:21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.
They want to hurt me so I ask you to kill their children with hunger
Let them die bloody deaths stabbed with swords
Let their wives hurt from their children dying
Kill their husbands
Let their young men die
God do not give them a break Jeremiah 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.
God they have plotted to hurt me so hurt them for me
Bring enemy soldiers to kill them
Do not forgive them Jeremiah 18:23 Yet, Lord, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.
God, you know their plans to kill me
Do not forgive them
Destroy them in your anger
Even Jeremiah overreacts when he is hurting
Jeremiah no longer wants the people to hear and repent
Jeremiah wants them dead
Jeremiah wants God to know that he has been faithful and deserves God to punish the people
Do we ever overreact?
Do we ever forget our purpose and think mostly of ourselves?
Applications to take home:
God makes His truth very clear to be obeyed or disobeyed as in the illustration of the potter
Make sure you pay attention to the fact that this potter and clay story is not really about individuals but a nation
God is in charge
The nation of Israel is the clay
God determines what to do even with our country
You are the clay
Even in the very harsh preaching from Jeremiah, God was calling His people to repent because He really wanted to bless them
How are we responding to God working in our lives right now?
Have we become angry, defensive, selfish, in response to all that is happening in our lives?
God fixes marred vessels
God is still at work in your life
God can take the mess you made and fix it
Remember to be willing to allow Him to work
Be pliable, stop resisting
Ask God to mold and make you
Yield to His work in your life