Day 173 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 18 – Jeremiah receives an object lesson at the potter’s house. If the vessel is spoiled in the making, the potter has the power to reshape it. Israel is like clay in the hands of the divine potter. God’s plans cannot be frustrated despite the fact that His people are like a spoiled vessel. The reality behind this imagery is the infallible purpose of God to bring in His kingdom despite the unbelief in the chosen nation and in the world. No human failure can get in His way, for in His own Son He has satisfied the penalty of His people’s failure.
Jeremiah 19 – Another object lesson is acted out by the prophet himself. After delivering God’s message of condemnation, he is to break an earthenware flask before the people. Once again it is made clear that the visible symbols of the covenant blessings—Jerusalem and the Davidic kingship—will be destroyed. These holy places and institutions have no permanence until renewed on the day of the Lord. This permanence will eventually come, though Jeremiah’s words in this passage do not say how. But it will come in a surprising way: not in a renewed building and institution but rather in a human, Jesus of Nazareth. He is the dwelling of God, the new temple, the promised Son of David (Matthew 1:21–23; Luke 1:30–33; John 1:14; 2:19–22; Romans 1:3–4).
How do you celebrate what Jesus has done for you?
Jeremiah 20 – It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, for us to appreciate Jeremiah’s inner turmoil and psychological distress arising from his calling to announce the coming demise of Judah, Jerusalem, the temple, and the Davidic throne. Jeremiah’s struggle can be seen as a rebuke to the superficial triumphalism and joyful bravado that some Christians imagine they should exhibit all the time. The peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) does not mean an easy ride. Suffering is a normal part of being a Believer because allegiance to Jesus puts us at odds with the world and its thinking (John 16:33; 17:14–17; Romans 8:17–18; Philippians 1:29).
But it is never unrelieved gloom. Jeremiah points to two aspects that make for genuine joy: evil will be dealt with by our warrior God, and we can praise Him for our salvation even though it is yet to be consummated (Romans 13:11–14). The Believer’s life is the paradox of sober joy—“sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).
How is the balance of sober joy revealed in your life?
Jeremiah 21 & 22 – The Lord had made Himself known to Israel as the divine warrior who fights for His people (Exodus 15:1–3; Psalm 8:1–2; 124; Isaiah 59:15–20). The Israelites possessed the Promised Land because God fought for them against their enemies. Now a horrifying prospect is announced by the prophet: because of their rebellion against Him, God the warrior will actually fight against the Israelites. In light of Judah’s hard-heartedness, the tables have been turned. Other prophets were similarly to warn of the “day of the Lord,” when He would come in judgment. Thus Malachi 3:1–3 speaks of a time of a purifying advent of the Lord.
For those who repent and turn to God, however, this purifying comes ultimately through the cross of Jesus. God still wages war against sin, but He also conquers it through the sacrifice of His Son. Now He is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31).
For those who choose the way of life, the coming judgment is not the end. Those who hear God’s promises and trust in Him will live. This means, however, that they are to go into exile in Babylon and not depend on the outward symbols of the land, city, and temple. Jeremiah thus foreshadows the way of life which is union with Jesus, the Way (John 14:6). The Believer’s life is a continual following of Jesus in His exile (Matthew 10:24–39), depending only on the word of His promise (John 5:24).
Prominent in Jeremiah’s preaching is the significance of God’s covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7:9–14. The earlier covenant promises had been encapsulated in the promises of the Lord “to be God to you” (Genesis 17:7–8); and “I will be your God, and you shall be My people” (Jeremiah 7:23; 11:4; 24:7; Leviticus 26:12; Ezekiel 11:20). These were then individualized by focusing the promise on David’s son: “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Samuel 7:14).
In this long oracle, however, Jeremiah condemns the dynasty of David for faithlessness. It thus invites the discipline of the Lord foreshadowed in the promise to David (2 Samuel 7:14). Yet God is faithful and His purposes sure (2 Samuel 7:15–16). The covenant promises must depend upon God because David’s son, Solomon, and his royal successors failed to live as the sons of God, just as Israel, the son of God (Exodus 4:22–23; Hosea 11:1), had constantly failed.
The promises of an eternal kingdom to David’s heir find their fulfillment, not in his immediate progeny, but in the lineage culminating in Jesus. Eventually Jesus came, and God’s approving declaration was, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Because we are united by faith to the beloved Son, we receive adoption as sons: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:14–17).
While we realize the majesty of God, are you also able to see Him as Daddy–One who loves you dearly?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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