Through the Bible Day by Day
The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
Jer_5:1-6; Jer_19:1-15; Jer_20:1-18; Jer_21:1-14; Jer_22:1-30; Jer_23:1-40; Jer_24:1-10; Jer_25:1-38; Jer_26:1-24; Jer_27:1-22; Jer_28:1-17; Jer_29:1-32; Jer_30:1-24; Jer_31:1-40
Diogenes, the cynic, was discovered one day in Athens in broad daylight, lantern in hand, looking for something. When someone remonstrated with him, he said that he needed all the light possible to enable him to find an honest man. Something like that is in the prophet’s thought. God was prepared to spare Jerusalem on lower terms than even Sodom, and yet He was driven to destroy her. Both poor and rich had alike “broken the yoke and burst the bonds.” The description of the onset of the Chaldeans is very graphic. They settle down upon the land as a flock of locusts, but still the Chosen People refuse to connect their punishment with their sin. It never occurred to the Chosen People that the failure of the rain, the withering of their crops, and the assault of their foes, were all connected with their sin. There is nothing unusual in this obtuseness for as we read the history of our own times, men are equally inapt at connecting national disaster with national sin.
How good it would be if the national cry of today were that of Jer_5:24 : Let us now fear before the Lord our God! Notice the delightful metaphor of Jer_5:22. When God would stay the wild ocean wave a barrier of sand will suffice. The martyrs were as sand grains but wild persecutions were quenched by their heroic patience.
THE FOLLY OF IDOLATRY
Jer_10:1-10; Jer_19:1-15; Jer_20:1-18; Jer_21:1-14; Jer_22:1-30; Jer_23:1-40; Jer_24:1-10; Jer_25:1-38
We are here introduced into an idol-factory. Contrasted with the manufactured idols is the majesty of our God. There is none like Him. His name is great in might; He is the King of the nations, the true and living God, and the everlasting King! Christian, fear not or be dismayed when enemies plot against you. It is a vain device that they frame. To hide in God is a sure defence from all that man can do for our hurt. O thou true and living Savior, in thy wounds harried and faithful souls become strong and brave again.
The prophet now bids the people prepare for their captivity. Their city would be as when a shepherd removed his slight and insubstantial tent, leaving no trace. But Jeremiah’s soul is lacerated and torn with the message he must needs announce. Are we called to be shepherds? Let us see to it that we seek the Lord; so only shall our flocks not be scattered, Jer_10:21. Are we in perplexity as to our path in life? It is not for us to direct ourselves, but to look up for God’s sure guidance, which will be given to the soul that waits for it, Jer_10:23. Are we being corrected? Let us be patient; it is only when we endure without complaining that our trial works out the highest good, and God will not give us more than we can bear, Jer_10:24.
SHEPHERDS THAT MISLEAD GOD’S FLOCK
Jer_23:1-12; Jer_23:1-40; Jer_24:1-10; Jer_25:1-38; Jer_26:1-24; Jer_27:1-22; Jer_28:1-17; Jer_29:1-32; Jer_30:1-24; Jer_31:1-40; Jer_32:1-44
It is God’s purpose to care for His people through shepherds (pastors) who are responsible to Him. Jesus our Lord is the Branch into which we may be grafted. He is our King who saves us and clothes us with His own spotless righteousness. God finds us in Him, Php_3:9. Because He reigns, we are saved and dwell in safety. When we are brought into contact with false shepherds, whether the failure be in doctrine or example, let us ask for the broken heart of Jer_23:9.
God is everywhere present; as the latter paragraph indicates, He is near at hand to overhear the blasphemy of those who deride religion, and to be a very present help in time of trouble. If He fills heaven and earth, can He not fill thy heart? If His Word is like fire, let it cleanse thee! If it is as a hammer, let it pulverize thy pride! Let those of us who essay to teach and preach, not steal our words from our neighbors, or utter our own, but receive them from the source of all truth.
TWO BASKETS OF FIGS
These two baskets represent the different, fates that overlook the people at the fall of Jerusalem. The good figs in the first were those who were taken to Babylon with Jeremiah. It was for their good that they were transplanted, Jer_24:5. How often we are led into captivity for the same reason. With bitter regrets we turn our backs on our early home, the scenes of our youth, and the faces we have loved. Sometimes we are carried into a strange land, where we find it impossible to sing the Lord’s song. But in the absence of all creature aid we find God drawing near to substitute restoration for destruction, building up for pulling down, and planting for uprooting.
Have we profited by our discipline? If so we are as the ripe figs of June, sweet to the taste of the owner who searches beneath the leaves of profession. Let those who congratulate themselves on their immunity from the troubles that have overtaken others, ponder Jer_24:8-10. In the light of Heb_12:9, immunity from chastisement is not to be sought after. The residue of the Jews drifted to their hurt. See Jer_41:1-18; Jer_42:1-22.