Jeremiah 16-18: Potter and Clay
October 8, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jeremiah, this weeping prophet, speaking judgment against God’s people, is at the same time being protected by God. Don’t have children here, Jeremiah (16:2); don’t settle down and make a home here, Jeremiah. Disaster is coming. Such is the story of the first part of chapter 16. But why? Because they have “forsaken” God (16:11).
But, the good news is that there will be a return from the exile that is being predicted. As God brought his people out of Egypt, so again he will bring them out of exile (16:14-15). God still has a plan for his people. This plan is all to exalt the name of God: “they shall know that my name is the LORD” (16:21). God’s rescue shows God to be a rescuing, gracious, merciful, compassionate God. That he can rescue sinners, rebels, amplifies God’s amazing power and grace.
In chapter 17, Jeremiah begins to channel some proverbial literature; Psalm 1 especially comes to mind. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength” (17:5). But “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream” (17:7-8). If they listen to God (17:24) they will be saved. But if they refuse to listen and obey God’s Word, they will go into exile (17:27).
Now, to understand all this, Jeremiah is given a visual illustration. He goes to the “potter’s house” (18:2). Like a potter shaping a clay pot, God shapes his people. He is the Master, they are the people; he is the potter, they are the clay. It is a humbling realization, a beautiful one, a comforting one. They think that they can make “plots” against Jeremiah (18:18), but they are mere clay. And Jeremiah will be protected.
Would you today listen and obey? Would you submit to God and his Word? Would you rejoice in the truth of the loving Father shaping you like a potter does the clay?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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