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00:01: Hey Bible readers, I'm Tara Lee Cobble and I'm your host for the Bible recap.
00:13: Today God sends Jeremiah on a little field trip.
00:16: He has him stop in where a potter is making jars.
00:19: As the potter is shaping one of them, things get a little wonky with it and he reshapes it into something new.
00:25: Same lump of clay, different outcome.
00:27: Then God tells Jeremiah,
00:29: Here's the message I want you to take away from this.
00:31: I'm the Potter.
00:32: The people are clay.
00:34: I can do whatever I want with them.
00:37: Let Jerusalem know that because of their evil, my plan for them involves disaster.
00:42: Then, call them to repent.
00:44: But just to remind her before you do all this, they are not going to repent.
00:48: They're going to keep doing whatever they want, making their own plans, and following their own hearts.
00:52: They've forgotten me.
00:54: I can almost hear the heartache in God's voice when He says the last part.
00:58: people have forgotten me. What's also interesting about this metaphor is how obviously engaged
01:04: the potter is with the clay. This isn't a computerized assembly line, this is hands-on creative
01:10: work. It's fitting because according to Genesis 2.7, God formed man out of the dust of the earth,
01:17: then breathed life into him. God has always been uniquely involved with humanity in ways that are
01:23: different from everything else he made. We're made with his hands, not his commands. We're made in
01:29: his likeness, unlike his other creations. We are indeed the clay to his potter. And in fact,
01:37: this is a common biblical metaphor. We saw it three times in the book of Isaiah alone,
01:42: and the common theme is that the clay doesn't get to argue with the potter. Isaiah 45, 9 puts it this
01:48: way. Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots. Does the clay say to
01:55: him who forms it, what are you making? Or your work has no handles." After this, the people start
02:02: to plot against Jeremiah again, and he's finally had enough. He's been so compassionate toward the
02:07: people up to this point, pleading their case even when God told him to be quiet, but he's reached
02:12: his breaking point. One of the things that makes Jeremiah so relatable to me in this moment
02:17: is that it takes things getting personal for him before he can understand God's point of view.
02:22: He doesn't get on board with God's plan of destruction based on the people's opposition to God
02:27: until they oppose him. He's an imperfect prophet as they all are.
02:32: He prays and asks God to deliver them up to the things God said away to them back in chapter 14.
02:37: Famine, sword, and pestilence. In chapter 19, God sends him to perform a bit of theater
02:43: in front of the people in order to present a message. God wants him to buy a clay flask
02:48: and smash it in front of the elders and the priests. Then tell them that it's symbolic of how
02:53: God is going to break this people in a way that they can't be mended. We've encountered some ideas
02:59: here that have the potential to be confusing, so I want to try to clarify in case they aren't obvious.
03:04: God has called Israel and Judah his people, but Scripture has also shown us repeatedly that
03:10: that God's people are made up of people from among every nation.
03:13: Anyone whose heart turns to follow Yahweh, including foreigners like Rahab and Ruth.
03:18: And as far as natural-born Israelites,
03:20: God has said that being born into the lineage of Abraham doesn't mean they're his children,
03:25: because his family is comprised of people with new hearts, not just circumcised flesh.
03:30: So technically at this point, God's people, whom he calls Israel,
03:35: include some people who aren't genetically Israelites,
03:38: and also doesn't include some people who genetically are.
03:41: It all comes down to their hearts.
03:44: Here's a modern parallel in case it's helpful.
03:47: We probably all know people who go to church either routinely or regularly, but who don't love God.
03:52: They're in the church, but they're not in the kingdom.
03:55: Or as I've heard it described, they're in the church visible, but not the church invisible.
04:01: Jesus even addressed this directly in John 8 and generally in Matthew 7.
04:06: So what we're starting to see here, especially through God's words in this book,
04:10: is that some people who are called His people aren't really His people at all.
04:15: They don't love Him or obey Him.
04:17: It seems that His plan is to preserve the ones among Judah who do love Him,
04:21: the remnant, and judge those who don't.
04:25: And truly, only God knows people's hearts.
04:28: So God can be trusted to make this kind of delineation among the people of Judah
04:32: when His judgment comes to them via Babylon.
04:35: After Jeremiah destroys the flask, one of the wicked priests beats him and puts him in stocks overnight.
04:42: Can you imagine how Jeremiah felt when this was happening?
04:45: He's being obedient to God and he's getting tortured for it.
04:49: The next day when the priest releases him, Jeremiah laments to God again.
04:53: He says, Oh Lord, you have deceived me.
04:57: This is just another example of why we can't take Scripture out of context.
05:01: We know God didn't deceive Jeremiah.
05:03: Jeremiah is devastated by how things are going,
05:06: but God has told him all along that this would not be easy and people would reject his message.
05:13: As much as Jeremiah hates his calling,
05:15: he feels a fire in his bones and can't keep his mouth shut.
05:19: He's lost his reputation and his friends, but God is with him.
05:23: He hates his life, but he persists in God's calling.
05:27: He's not the first to feel this way.
05:29: This reminds me of Job and Moses and Elijah.
05:32: Jeremiah wishes had never been born, but of course, we know God had a plan for his life,
05:38: because we're reading his book. In chapter 21, Kings et a caya, who was Judah's very last king,
05:45: sins messengers to Jeremiah to ask him if they're going to be spared when Babylon's king
05:49: Nebuchadnezzar invades. Just so you have an idea of where we're at in the timeline,
05:54: the Babylonian captivity happens in 586 BC, so most commentators placed this conversation one to
06:00: two years earlier, around 587 or 588 BC, after Babylon had already started invading.
06:06: Jeremiah tells them, not only will God not stop Babylon, but he himself will fight against
06:12: Jerusalem.
06:14: Ouch.
06:15: And God says the only way to survive is to surrender.
06:19: Then in chapter 22, God sends Jeremiah with a follow-up message for Kings at Akhaya.
06:24: Stop oppressing the poor and the orphans and the widows.
06:27: Do justice and righteousness.
06:29: That's your job.
06:31: If you do this, I'll let your kingdom survive.
06:33: But if not, that will be the end of this kingdom.
06:36: Then God recounts some of the sins of the final kings of Judah.
06:40: They were wicked leaders, murdering and oppressing the weak.
06:43: They've done nothing to prompt God to extend their kingdom.
06:46: They've all disobeyed his rules.
06:49: And this final chapter is where my God shot came from today.
06:52: Verse 3 says,
06:53: Do justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed,
06:58: and do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless and the widow,
07:03: nor shed innocent blood in this place. Then, verses 15-16 echo these ideas and end with a bold
07:10: statement. They say, did not your father eat and drink in do justice and righteousness,
07:16: then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and the needy, then it was well.
07:21: Is not this to know me? Declares the Lord?
07:25: God says to know him is to do what he says.
07:29: Jesus reiterates this in John 14.
07:31: Our deepest intimacy with God is found in obedience.
07:36: Obeying God is where the joy is,
07:38: because obeying God is where we connect with God
07:40: on the deepest level, and we know for sure
07:43: that he is where the joy is.
07:48: Pay battle readers, it's time for our weekly check-in.
07:50: check in, how are you feeling today? Did you have a rough start to the morning or maybe
07:54: a rough week in general and you're not where you want to be in our reading? Or maybe
07:58: you're right where you want to be? Either way, here's what I know. God knows exactly where
08:03: you are and he's with you in that space. On those exact pages in that exact timeline,
08:09: so you are right on time. What you're reading today is what you are supposed to read. He has a plan
08:14: for you even on the rough days, even on the days when you feel like you're behind. You are not.
08:19: I'm cheering you on, and we're in this together.
08:23: Hey Bible readers, you and I might feel competent in a Bible trivia game, but how well do you know popular One Hit Wonders?
08:30: Because that was a challenge for me.
08:32: If you want to see me compete in Way Nation's song battle, text Wonder, that's W-O-N-D-E-R, to 677-101.
08:41: Click the link in the show notes.