Tuesday, January 18, 2022

2022.01.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Jeremiah 18:1–11

Read Jeremiah 18:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What came to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:1)? From Whom? Where must he go (Jeremiah 18:2)? What will happen there? Where did he go (Jeremiah 18:3)? What did he see there? What happened to what he was making (Jeremiah 18:4)? What did he do to it? According to what? Then what came to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:5)? Whom does this word address (Jeremiah 18:6)? Asking what? What does He say Israel is like? What might He speak concerning a nation (Jeremiah 18:7)? But what might that nation do (Jeremiah 18:8a)? And what will the Lord do, how quickly (verse 8b, cf. Jeremiah 18:7a)? What else might He speak concerning a nation (Jeremiah 18:9)? But what might that nation do (Jeremiah 18:10a)? And what will the Lord do and how quickly (verse 10b, Jeremiah 18:9a)? What does the Lord tell Jeremiah to do (Jeremiah 18:11)? What is he to tell Judah and Jerusalem the Lord is doing? What is he to call Israel to do? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from Jeremiah 18:1–11 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Have Thine Own Way, Lord!

Often, a preaching illustration is more vivid when the preacher has experienced it firsthand, and the Lord sends Jeremiah so that he will be seeing the illustration (Jeremiah 18:2a, Jeremiah 18:3-4) as the Lord’s words come to him (Jeremiah 18:2b, Jeremiah 18:4-11). Notice, by the way, that it is both the Lord’s word (singular, Jeremiah 18:5) and the Lord’s words (plural, Jeremiah 18:2). The Bible is not merely a channel of God’s speaking to us, but the words themselves are God’s own speech.

As Jeremiah stands there, watching the potter, the Lord teaches him several important lessons: God’s sovereignty, God’s activity, God’s planning, God’s interactivity, and our submission.

God’s sovereignty. He’s in control. He’s at the wheel (literally “double-stone,” end of Jeremiah 18:3). He can do as He wishes (Jeremiah 18:6, cf. Romans 9:19–21). He is not required to comply with us, but we must comply with Him.

God’s activity. God is not some absentee creator who got things started and is generally hands-off. He speaks concerning nations and kingdoms; it is He who determines when they will be yanked out of place, torn down, or destroyed (Jeremiah 18:7).

God’s planning̣. There is one nation in particular that God established—Israel, who are under His judgment in the book of Jeremiah—but all nations owe their origin and their existence to Him (Jeremiah 18:9). And they would do well to remember that in gratitude. The same is true of churches, families, and individuals.

God’s interactivity. Although there is a final judgment coming for people, God continuously interacts providentially with nations. He responds to repentance (Jeremiah 18:8)—what great news for nations under judgment, and would that our own would heed Him! He also responds to backsliding and wickedness (Jeremiah 18:10).

Our submission. In light of all of these things, Judah’s options were clear: submit to God or submit to God. Either submit to the destruction that the unstoppable and sovereign God had determined (Jeremiah 18:11b), or rather submit to God’s good law (verse 11c)  and enjoy the mercy of how He is pleased to respond to such repentance.

Whenever we are finding it difficult to submit to the Lord, let us remember that those who do not submit to His precepts will find that they still have to submit to His providential judgment. Let us not imagine that we have the option of ultimately successful resistance; rather, may He graciously give us to say, “Have Thine own way, Lord!”

How will you respond to the reality that the Lord is sovereignly, actively interacting with you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the Potter, and we are the clay. You have the right to do with us as You please, so forgive us for how little we often think about or aim at pleasing You. Grant unto us to repent of our evil and rejoice over Your goodness, so that we may respond with thankful obedience and service, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage” or TPH533 “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”

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