Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20050309.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
S. Adjusting To God's Need To Judge Hardened Sinners (Vessels)
Lesson: Judah sinned to where she PLOTTED to ABUSE and KILL God's prophet. As Jeremiah saw the UNJUST HARM these folk wanted to do to HIM, HE ACCEPTED God's judgment and even PRAYED for its arrival for PERSONAL VENGEANCE!
- God's judgment is a troublesome thing for anyone to face, not to mention our accepting its arrival on man.
- However, sin can become so massive and destructive that God's judgment on the guilty is necessary, and how we are to accept its arrival on hardened sinners is explained in Jeremiah 18:12-19:15 as follows:
- Adjusting To God's Need To Judge Hardened Sinners (Vessels), Jeremiah 18:12-19:15.
- In the last lesson from Jeremiah 18:1-11, we learned God revealed sinful Judah was like the SOFT clay on the potter's wheel that was vulnerable to the sovereign decision of the potter: depending on whether Judah continued in sin or repented of it, God would either sovereignly judge it by Babylonian invasion or relent concerning that planned judgment and preserve the "soft vessel" of Judah from harm.
- Yet, Judah responded to this call to repent with hardness, refusing to repent, Jeremiah 18:12-18, 23a:
- In hearing Jeremiah's call to repent via way of the object lesson of the soft clay, the people of Judah claimed they would continue in stubborn rebellion against God, Jer. 18:12 (in light of Jer. 18:1-11).
- God then had Jeremiah show how horrible was such sin that would justly lead to judgment, 18:13-17:
- God made Jeremiah announce Judah's rebellion was an astounding evil, for it countered even the natural order: Judah had left God, the Source of her life's blessings, for vain gods that could only fail to supply the blessings God had given her, Jer. 18:13-15; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Jer. 18:14.
- Consequently, God would judge Judah, turning her blessing into a dearth of blessing, Jer. 18:16-17.
- In response to this latest message from him, Jeremiah's hearers plotted to abuse him verbally and to kill him, claiming Jeremiah was not telling the truth and that the words of their priests, wise men and prophets that proclaimed peace and prosperity opposite Jeremiah's message were true, Jer. 18:18, 23a.
- Thus, not only God but even Jeremiah voiced the realization that judgment had to fall on Judah, for the SOFT clay pot of the potter's wheel of God [back in Jeremiah 18:1-11] had turned into a HARD and badly MARRED clay pot of wickedness against God, His Word and His prophet, Jer. 18:19-19:15:
- Jeremiah saw via the mistreatment he faced for voicing God's message that the people deserved to be judged for wickedness; accordingly, he prayed for personal vengeance to that end, Jeremiah 18:19-23.
- God then not only condoned that prayer of vengeance, but had Jeremiah give a second object lesson -- this time involving a HARDENED clay pot [in contrast to the SOFT clay pot of Jeremiah 18:1-11] that Jeremiah was to destroy as God had to destroy the spiritually hardened people of Judah, 19:1-15:
- In following up with the initial object lesson involving the SOFT clay at the potter's house, God told Jeremiah to take a potter's HARD clay pot along with elders of the people and the priests and go to the valley where broken pottery was usually cast out, Jeremiah 19:1-2, Ibid., ftn. to Jeremiah 19:2.
- There, Jeremiah was to announce God's judgment was coming on Judah for its sins, Jer. 19:3-5.
- Indeed, that Valley would no longer be called "fireplace" (Tophet, Ibid., ftn. to Jer. 7:31), but the Valley of Slaughter due to the destruction Judah would face there, Jeremiah 19:6-7, 8-9.
- At that point, Jeremiah was to break the hardened clay pot he held to symbolize how God was about to destroy the spiritually hardened nation of Judah, Jeremiah 19:10-13.
- After this demonstration beside the Valley east of Jerusalem, Jeremiah returned to the temple court and told the people of Judah the same news of coming judgment for her sin, Jeremiah 19:14-15.
Application: (1) Though we do not lightly wish God's judgment on anyone, when we see the ABUSE the wicked pour out on the INNOCENT, we can ACCEPT its arrival. (2) May we also acknowledge how AWFUL sin is against our GRACIOUS God so that when we see OTHERS fall into deep and unnatural rebellion against Him, may WE repent if needed to avoid His judgment, 1 Cor. 10:11-12.