Sunday, August 26, 2018

Jeremiah 18 & 19

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 18 & 19. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Today’s reading uses clay as a way to illustrate God’s power in two different ways.
  • Chapter 18 opens with Jeremiah following God’s instruction and watching a potter work with clay to turn it into a jar. When the clay did not take the shape the potter intended, the potter crushed it into a lump and started over.
  • God explains to Jeremiah that just as the potter has power over the clay, to build it up, tear it down, or change his mind about what to do with it, God has the same power over people and nations.
  • Jeremiah delivers another message to the people of Israel to turn from their sins and return to God but they stubbornly continue to refuse and God declares that because of their choices, he will turn his back to them as well.
  • Chapter 18 ends with the people plotting to stop Jeremiah from sharing his prophecies and Jeremiah crying out to God for protection.
  • Chapter 19 shows Jeremiah following God’s command to buy a jar made of clay and smash it in front of the people of Jerusalem while explaining that just as the clay shattered, God will also shatter the people of Israel because of the choices they made in turning away from God.
  • Part of God’s anger was due to the Israelites offering their children as sacrifices in a valley which was used as a dumping ground for debris and rubbish from the city of Jerusalem. Because the sinful ways of the people of Israel would bring about their own death and destruction, this valley would soon be known as “the Valley of Slaughter”.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • These two chapters show God’s sovereignty, authority, and dominion over his people.
  • In both illustrations, the clay represents the Israelites. God continues to work with the people (the clay) to make it into a useful vessel by offering them the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and follow God once again. But if the people did not repent, the “clay” would harden the wrong way and it will then be useless for what it was designed for. When that happens, it will be broken and destroyed.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Are there parts of your life that feel out of control? Perhaps you are unfulfilled in your job. Or you are struggling financially. Maybe you are hurting in a relationship: with a family member, partner, or friend. If you feel shattered and broken, pray to God today and ask him to take control. He has plans for you and a design for your best life; in order for you to reach there, you must let him shape you.
  • It can be scary to give up control. One way to firm up your intention to rely on God is to be in community with others who also look to him for guidance and direction. Verve Groups are starting in just a couple of weeks, and there are many to choose from! Check them out and sign up for one so you can gather and grow together.