August 18

Read Jeremiah 15 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

Jeremiah's prayer; signs of Judah's captivity; Sabbath regulations; lesson from the potter; God's absolute power over the nations

The LORD said. . . . Verily (truly) I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction (Jeremiah 15:11). But, when the Israelites rejected God and His Word as their way of life, they forfeited the privilege of His protection and suffered tragic spiritual and physical loss.

To understand the Israelites' problems and their final outcome, Jeremiah was sent to the potter's house to see a live illustration of what God was about to do. God said to Jeremiah: Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought (was making) a work on the wheels And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it (18:2-4). Then the Lord said: O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?. . . Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine. . . . If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent (relent) of the evil that I thought to do unto them. . . . If it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them (18:6,8,10).

When the vessel (His chosen people) was marred in the hand of the potter, it was the hardness within the clay itself and not the failure of the potter that made the vessel worthless. Israel had rejected the will of God and was marred (hardened) by its sin. Consequently, the vessel, Israel, was broken and taken into captivity by Babylon, which was used as the instrument of God. After 70 years of captivity (25:11), God made the clay into another vessel which was the small group of Jews who willingly returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and worship Him.

When clay is hardened, it needs water added to soften it and, when it is once again malleable, it must then have the bubbles smoothed out of it so it will not crack when placed in the fiery furnace. We are like that. The water represents the Holy Spirit, Who must be added into our lives to make our sin-hardened hearts once again soft and moldable. Everyone's life has problems, but they can be used by our Lord to reshape us — if we will submit to Him.

We are like earthen vessels and God has a special plan for each of us to be a vessel for His use, even though we too are distorted by sin. When we yield ourself to the Master Potter, with loving hands He will mold us again into another vessel, one better prepared to contain and express the Presence of Christ Himself. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Corinthians 5:17).

Christ Revealed:

In Jeremiah's words to God: Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart (Jeremiah 15:16). Jesus said: The words (truths) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). As the One Who searches the heart of man and rewards him accordingly (Jeremiah 17:10; Psalm 139:23-24; Revelation 2:23).

Word Studies:

15:1 be toward = be favorable to; 15:6 repenting = giving you another chance; 17:10 try the reins = test the heart; 18:4 marred = ruined; made it again = reworked it as; 18:11 frame = prepare; 18:15 in a way not cast up = on paths of sin, not ways of righteousness.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Karen Hawkins · Pray for Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Nelson A. Paul · Country: Niger (10 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: French and Hausa · Christian evangelism is limited · 89% Muslim; 10% animist; .4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to give you contentment in your circumstances, whether in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:11-12).

Optional Reading: II Peter 3

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:24