We are in the Prophetic Stream and using the New Living Translation this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, we get the message that you desire us to walk with you. You so badly don’t want us to go astray as we see what happened in Judah during this season in their history. It’s so important that we learn from what they lived through. Teach us Lord, to walk by faith in you. Amen.
18 – The potter and the clay illustration is spot on. God working with Israel and a potter working clay are identical situations. Something has gone very wrong and it it time to flatten this piece of clay and reshape/build it up again…[Judah being the piece of clay]. And symbolically, the clay is lecturing the potter claiming the clay is in charge – not the potter! What?! Most all of us have worked with others and when there turns out to be a rebel in the building/on the team/in the gathering, we want them to shape up and help the cause, don’t we? And when they cause far more trouble than the worth that they bring, the sentiment is to get rid of them. And if they persist in creating squabbling or become such contrarians that it is not even possible to press forward until they are gone, then they are to be removed. Like then/like now/like still –> Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, as God told Saul around 1030 B.C. thereabouts. Now, it isn’t just Saul, it’s all of the Southern Kingdom. They are behaving worse than the neighboring pagans. They are leaving God little choice but to smash them flat and start over. I think He will. The potter’s illustration causes Jeremiah to be aggressively shunned.
19 – Jeremiah takes a clay jar, as God commanded, and he goes to the southeast corner of Jerusalem where the refuse was thrown and burned. Jeremiah gave a message that the place was soon to be a refuse heap of slaughtered Judeans that have been refusing to listen and yield to the Lord of Heaven and His Army (of angels). They have spent generations intermittently worshiping Baal and building a monument to one thing: their own stupidity!. They’ve burned incense to false gods, like the stars & gods of the sky. What fools they have deliberately turned themselves into! And it is rather intriguing that Jesus stood in this exact area, in this gateway about 600 years later and used a zinger of a play-on-words to tell about how the Pharisees and their ilk were in danger of the fires of hell as the trash fire burned behind him. In less than a week, they killed Jesus for this. What do you think they will do to Jeremiah?
20 – Well, Pashhur [“Pah-SHOE-er”], the son of the Priest in charge of the Temple, arrests Jeremiah and has him whipped and put in stocks in the Temple gate called “Benjamin”. Now think a moment: is Jeremiah arrested and whipped for lying or for telling the truth? … chew on that one, folks! Jeremiah is released then has a petition for God that is understandable. It really hit Jeremiah wrong that he was treated this way. –understandable if one puts themselves in Jeremiah’s sandals for a day. Don’t you think?
21 – Jeremiah is sought out as the leaders of the Temple ask Jeremiah to pray to God for relief in Judah from the Babylonians who were besieging the country and approaching Jerusalem! [this coincides with II Kings 24, btw] The nightmare was upon them for their centuries of disobedience and derelict leadership. Verse 7 is quite “the riot act” to read: “I will send war, disease, and famine…showing no pity, mercy, or compassion.” They could surrender to Babylon (as prisoners) or die. for Jerusalem was to be turned into an ash heap. God was dropping the gavel. The Priests and Judges were altogether corrupt and God was fighting them now. Why would they call on God now after disobeying Him for so long that no one even remembered what it was to follow him?! Jer. 27:6 clarifies matters as to God’s perspective regarding this turn of events: God refers to Nebuchadnezzar; King of Babylon as His servant. If God’s people won’t listen to God and clean up their ways then God will send an enemy to level the city and let God start over. Yeeeesh, obeying would have been so much more simpler.