God is the Master Potter. Are you allowing Him to mold you into a vessel He can use? Or do you feel you’re dried out, cracked and useless? No problem. He uses broken things, also! No heart is too hard for Jesus! In these next 2 chapters, God uses the potter, clay and jars to illustrate His relationship to the people of Judah and us. Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 18 – The Potter and the Clay
The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 7 If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 8 but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 9 And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.
11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”
12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”
13 So this is what the Lord says:
“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing,
even among the pagan nations?
My virgin daughter Israel
has done something terrible!
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon?
Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;
they burn incense to worthless idols.
They have stumbled off the ancient highways
and walk in muddy paths.
16 Therefore, their land will become desolate,
a monument to their stupidity.
All who pass by will be astonished
and will shake their heads in amazement.
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies
as the east wind scatters dust.
And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them
and refuse to notice their distress.”
A Plot against Jeremiah
18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”
19 Lord, hear me and help me!Jeremiah 18 NLT
Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20 Should they repay evil for good?
They have dug a pit to kill me,
though I pleaded for them
and tried to protect them from your anger.
21 So let their children starve!
Let them die by the sword!
Let their wives become childless widows.
Let their old men die in a plague,
and let their young men be killed in battle!
22 Let screaming be heard from their homes
as warriors come suddenly upon them.
For they have dug a pit for me
and have hidden traps along my path.
23 Lord, you know all about their murderous plots against me.
Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins.
Let them die before you.
Deal with them in your anger.
The Major Point
This message to Jeremiah is for all of us.
Allow God — the Master Potter — to have His Way with You — the clay!
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
Here’s the key – the clay has no say in the process. The Potter is sovereign. He determines what the clay ends up to be. The clay is a shapeless hunk of mud when it’s put on the spindle. It’s only job is to be pliable. It’s the Potter who softens, molds, and shapes. He applies His artistic genius to His design. And what results is a priceless piece of art. A vessel that now reflects the will and personality of the Potter.
As a Christian you are the clay and Jesus the potter.Sandy Adams
Jeremiah — the 11th Hour Prophet
There wasn’t much time left. As we saw yesterday, God sent Jeremiah to oversee the judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. It’s nice of God to give us warning before sending His judgment and punishment. He gives us time to repent.
We are living in the 11th Hour right now! If you haven’t noticed with all that’s going on in the world, we are in the Last Days — the End Times. God is warning humankind to get right with Him or face the Judgement Day. Believe me, you do not want to be around for the Great Tribulation!
Peter warned us…
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.2 Peter 3:9 NLT
Jeremiah 9 – Jeremiah’s Shattered Jar
This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a clay jar. Then ask some of the leaders of the people and of the priests to follow you. 2 Go out through the Gate of Broken Pots (The Potsherd Gate) to the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and give them this message. 3 Say to them, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will bring a terrible disaster on this place, and the ears of those who hear about it will ring!
4 “‘For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods—idols never before acknowledged by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. 5 They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 6 So beware, for the time is coming, says the Lord, when this garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
7 “‘For I will upset the careful plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will allow the people to be slaughtered by invading armies, and I will leave their dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. 8 I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will gasp at the destruction they see there. 9 I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.’
10 “As these men watch you, Jeremiah, smash the jar you brought. 11 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair. They will bury the bodies here in Topheth, the garbage dump, until there is no more room for them. 12 This is what I will do to this place and its people, says the Lord. I will cause this city to become defiled like Topheth. 13 Yes, all the houses in Jerusalem, including the palace of Judah’s kings, will become like Topheth—all the houses where you burned incense on the rooftops to your star gods, and where liquid offerings were poured out to your idols.’”
14 Then Jeremiah returned from Topheth, the garbage dump where he had delivered this message, and he stopped in front of the Temple of the Lord. He said to the people there, 15 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me.’”Jeremiah 19 NLT
The Blood of Innocent Children
Again, I turn to Pastor Sandy Adams…
The “potsherd gate” was probably located on the southwest wall of the city – near what is today the Dung Gate. In the first century, the area had become the city’s garbage heap. A constant fire burned in the valley to incinerate the trash. This is why Jesus called the place of eternal punishment “Gehenna” which means “Valley of Hinnom.” In the spiritual domain Gehenna is where the worm doesn’t die – the fire isn’t quenched.
At the time of Jeremiah the Hinnom Valley was a place synonymous with idolatry. Baal was worshipped, and children were sacrificed to Molech in this valley. It’s here that Jeremiah leads this group of Jewish dignitaries. At the scene of their crimes he publicly pronounces judgment upon them and upon the nation. Many people believe this was more than a warning, this was the announcement that activated God’s judgment. This was the trigger that began the Babylonian invasion and the judgment God predicted.
They were burning their children, innocent babies, as offerings to Baal. This was similar to the sacrifice made to Molech, god of the Canaanites, that God outlawed in Leviticus 18. These idols were made of hollowed out medal. Fire burned inside them. The medal became glowing hot. The priests beat their drums to drown the screams of the babies as they were laid in the out-stretched arms of the idol… This was so foreign to God’s thinking.
He looked on this practice and called Jerusalem “an alien place.” This was never God’s intention for His people. God says of human sacrifice, “I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind…” This shines a light on God’s command to Abraham when He told him to offer his only son, Isaac, on the altar. Apparently, God never intended for Abraham to go through with the deed. He asked Abraham to “offer” Isaac – not kill him. Of course, God never asked mankind to offer a child sacrifice – “the blood of the innocent” – on the altar, since He was prepared to do so Himself. God later offered His only Son, Jesus, for the sin of the world.
For a human parent to offer their child as a burnt offering was a deed so despicable – so unnatural – it turned God’s world into “an alien place.” It was not only a crime against God, and the child, and the parents, and society – it was a crime against instinct and nature. And this is how God feels today about abortion. Is abortion not the letting of “the blood of the innocents?”
Modern science has made the mother’s womb transparent. We can see the life growing in her womb. And who can deny it’s human life? It’s viable from its early stages. Left alone in the womb it will grow into a healthy baby. What did the baby do to deserve to die?
Abortion is barbaric, it’s savage… And it’s interesting that what blinds parents today to deny their natural instincts, and turn on their own babies, is the same motivation that existed in Jeremiah’s day. Idolatry fuels abortion. Not Baal-worship, but self-worship. We worship ourselves and our convenience to insist on our right to choose over a baby’s right to live!
God is still outraged over this shedding of innocent blood. And our nation is just as deserving of judgment for allowing it to continue.Sandy Adams
Total number of innocent children sacrificed, since 1973, for the gods of pride, greed and selfishness: 62,502,904 and counting…(Source)
It’s Not too Late to Be Humbled and Forgiven
These 2 illustrations of clay in the Potter’s Hands show that God CAN change us. You must allow Him to make you into a person good enough to serve Him and be welcomed into His Kingdom. He can either smash us back into lumps of clay, then mold us into what He wants us to be, or He can take a dried out, cracked pot and fix it so that He can use it.
Either way, it requires humility and surrender. He can’t mold us into what He needs us to be unless we become pliable. We have to become soft enough for Him to do His magic.
There’s a special relationship between the Potter and the clay. As long as we acknowledge that we are not good enough on our own, that we need Jesus, He will be with us 24/7.
It’s NEVER too late! What your waiting for? We’re at the 11th Hour!