From the earliest days of childhood, I was fortunate enough to glean this honorable virtue from my parents, my early classroom teachers, and those who were a part of my small hometown: devoted love; vigorous support and defense of one’s country; national loyalty; in a word, patriotism. I was taught to honor her flag and to pay homage to the many lives lost in the defense of my homeland. Just as I have developed a profound love for my beloved country, the people of Judah were desperately loyal to their God-established nation. They were the chosen people, established by God to inherit their promised land and the covenant blessings. Jeremiah was a prophet called to preach during a crucial crossroads in his nation’s history, commissioned directly by God to warn those patriotic Jews that the judgment of God would be forthcoming, their beloved nation and the most holy city of Jerusalem, would soon be destroyed.
The Lord instructed his prophet to “Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle,” a simple piece of hardened clay. Take that bottle, gather the older (and presumably wiser) priests and citizens to the valley near unto the eastern gate, and proclaim the words that “I shall tell thee.”
Jeremiah obeyed the command of his God and rehearsed the sins of the nation in the ears of the elders of Jerusalem. Judah had “forsaken” the one, true God, “built high places” for idol worship, they defiled the Sabbath day, and oppressed their more unfortunate fellow citizens, the poorest and most needy among them. And as a result of the nation’s blatant sins and overt disobedience, an almighty God declares that a fierce fire was “kindled in mine anger.” Jeremiah was then instructed to “break the bottle in the sight of the men,” as a vivid object lesson of what was in store for Judah. They would be broken, just as that clay jar, and would not be “made whole again.”
Jeremiah was faithful to call attention to the sins of his nation, and he would suffer the cost, as he was “smote,” beaten, and put “in the stocks” of prison by the order of the priests. Jeremiah was a broken vessel, similar to that bottle used in his demonstration; he was devastated, depressed, cursing the day “wherein (he) was born.” That’s it, Jeremiah mused in his heart, no more preaching, the backlash has been too severe. I will not speak “any more in his name.”
But Jeremiah could not stop, for God’s Word was “as a burning fire shut up” within him. He may have been broken, but he knew that “the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one; therefore my persecutors…shall not prevail.” Ultimately, Jeremiah would be vindicated. As we attempt to break the hearts of others for God, we may also be broken, adversity may be the fruit of our labor, but we will never be alone or forsaken. As our nation veers away from the Creator upon Whom this country was founded, as we continue to offend Him with our sin and waywardness, He calls on us to be as faithful and steadfast as Jeremiah, proclaiming God’s truth to a dark and erring culture.
Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities.
Lord, keep me a faithful witness of Your Word, even when persecution results. Help us to be the light that shines in the darkness, a light that points others to Christ.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1420-656bdcde5424a' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1420&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1420-656bdcde5424a' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1420-656bdcde5424a' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>