Break the Jar
A daily devotion for August 15th
19 This is what the Lord says: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests 2 and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, 3 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. 6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
7 “‘In this place I will ruin[a] the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds and the wild animals. 8 I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. 9 I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.’
10 “Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching, 11 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. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 12 This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the Lord. I will make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’”
14 Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people, 15 “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.’”
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. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room.Jeremiah 19:10-11
Jeremiah was told, in the striking figure God employed for the benefit of these people, to take the potter's vessel he had bought and dash it to pieces on a rock. As they watched it fly into smithereens, so that it was impossible to bring it back together, these people were taught that they were dealing with a God whose love is so intense that he will never alter his purpose — even if he has to destroy and crush and break them down again.
You see, that is the way the world sees God right now. They see the hell which is coming into our world. And soon it will be worse, according to the prophetic Scriptures. There will be worse signs taking place, worse affairs among men. They will cry out against God as being harsh and ruthless and vindictive, filled with vengeance and anger and hatred. That is all the world sees.
But the people of God are taught further truth. Jeremiah had been to the potter's house. He had seen the potter making a vessel, and he knew that it was love behind this Potter's pressures, and that when the vessel was marred, this Potter was also capable of crushing it down again, bringing it to nothing but a lump, and then molding it, shaping it again, perhaps doing this repeatedly, until at last it fulfilled what God wanted. That is the great lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house, and that we can learn at the potter's house, as well.
One of the great lessons we can learn from the New Testament's use of the figure of the potter is in the book of Acts — the incident when Judas brought back the thirty pieces of silver and flung them down at the feet of the priests, after having betrayed his Lord. The priests gathered the money, took counsel together and bought with the money a potter's field. It was known thereafter as
the field of blood, (Matthew 27:6-10). This again is God's wonderful reminder of the heart of our Potter. For if you watch this Potter very carefully, at work in your life, you will find that his hands and his feet bear nail prints, and that it is through blood, the blood of the Potter himself, that the vessel is being shaped into what he wants it to be.
When we are in the Potter's hands, feeling his pressures, feeling the molding of his fingers, we can relax and trust him, for we know that this Potter has suffered with us and knows how we feel, but is determined to make us into a vessel
useful to the Master (2 Timothy 2:21). What a tremendous lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house — one which can guide and guard us under the pressures of life.
Lord, you have used the trials and pressures in my life to teach me to surrender to you. I invite you to use the means to continue to mold and shape me into the person you want me to be.
Life Application: Are we learning to recognize that God's disciplines are evidence of his unquenchable Love? How do we respond to this love that persists in making us whole?
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