Jeremiah 19: The point of no return.(please click here for todays Bible passage)

‘’They’re set in their ways and won’t budge. They refuse to do a thing I say.’’ (15b) The Message.

In this tragic chapter, Jeremiah is told to ‘’buy a clay jar from a potter’’ (1) and then break it in the presence of Judah’s leaders (10) as a sign of the coming destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. On this occasion, someone pointed out, he went to the potter’s not as a spectator but as a customer. There is an important difference between the ‘’clay jar’’ of this chapter and the ‘’marred ‘’ pot of the previous chapter (18:4). That was still pliable and could be remoulded; but here the jar was so hardened it could not be remade. There is a time when people can still repent of their sins, but in chapter 19 we have gone beyond that, and we need to remember that in sinning it is possible to reach a point of no return. For Judah it was now too late to be reshaped. The breaking of the clay pot showed that judgment was irrevocable. It was a powerful, ‘shattering’ image, and it spoke volumes. ‘’I’ll smash this people and this city like a man who smashes a clay pot into so many pieces it can never be put together again.’’ The Message. ‘’People with hard hearts and stiff necks (19-15) may be easily broken.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.510.

What was going on here? What had led to such devastation as described in this chapter?

They forsook God (4): That was the root of the problem. They left God behind; or rather they ‘’exchanged’’ Him (Romans 1:23) for other vile gods who demanded despicable things from them (5, 13).

They forsook God’s Word (5): Rejecting God and rejecting His Word are two sides of the same coin. It is tantamount to self-destruction ultimately.

They filled the city with innocent blood (4b): What kind of religion would demand that children be sacrificed in the fire (4, 5)? What sort of gods would desire such a thing? The law absolutely forbade child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21: God foresaw that they would face both the temptation and the opportunity), and King Josiah had tried to put an end to it (2 Kings 23:10; see 21:16 – it was particularly rife in Manasseh’s reign); however the practice started up again after Josiah’s death. We are surely not shocked or surprised that terrible judgment fell on such evil behaviour? So, as a result of all this:

They were going to fall (7; see also 7:30-34): We may make our plans but they are not guaranteed to succeed. Even if they do, we need to realise that the Lord can ‘’ruin’’ them. Any plans we make which are not God-centred are doomed to ultimate failure, and we may find we are the sad recipients of what we did not plan.

‘’We have the spiritual treasure in earthen vessels (2 Cor.4:7) so that we might share it with others. A vessel does not manufacture; it only contains and shares. All God asks is that we are clean, empty, and available. He will do the rest.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.510.

We need to understand that if we keep resisting God’s Word, and rejecting His Son Jesus, there will come a point where we are unable to turn.

Prayer: O Merciful God, give me grace to repent while there is still time.