September 27 I Tuesday
“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to My words.’” —Jeremiah 19:15
After Jeremiah goes to the potter’s house and sees what he does with the clay, God sends Jeremiah back to the potter’s house, but this time He tells him, “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you” (Jeremiah 19:1-2).
The message that God gives Jeremiah to proclaim is how the Israelites had forsaken God and replaced Him with foreign gods; altogether, their hearts have become hard. After giving the message, God tells Jeremiah, “Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching, and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired’” (Jeremiah 19:10-11). If this visual was not convicting, Jeremiah adds, “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to My words’” (Jeremiah 19:15). Because the Israelites were hardened, resistant and could not be remolded anymore, God was going to destroy this city. In the following chapter, the priest Pashhur heard what Jeremiah was saying and became angry—they are the people chosen by God, how is it possible that God is going to destroy them?
What some of us, like Pashhur, fail to understand is that the judgment of God is a real thing. It comes to the hardened hearts who resist the potter’s hand, who resist the remolding process that He would bring to them. Zedekiah, the last king of Judah while Jeremiah was prophesying, “became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the LORD, the God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 36:13). Eventually, he was exiled to Babylon. Also with King Nebuchadnezzar, “his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory” (Daniel 5:20). After God broke Nebuchadnezzar, he had one of the most dramatic conversions of the Old Testament—there is always hope even beyond that breaking.
Hebrews 3:13 comforts us, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” May we not lose sight of the holiness of God, falling into worshipping a god of our own making, but encourage one another in the proper fear of the Lord that leads to life beyond the breaking.Prayer: Lord God Almighty, You are holy and You alone are worthy to be worshipped. Turn my eyes away from sin’s deceitfulness and lead me to a proper fear of You. Thank You, Lord.