Jeremiah 18

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Why would a Hindu monk advocate the Christian mystical tradition? The answer is simple: they are one in the same. Even though the repetitive words used may differ (e.g. Christian words: Abba, Father, etc. rather than Hindu words), the end result is the same. And the Hindu monk knew this to be true. Bramachari understood that Merton didn’t need to switch to Hinduism to get the same enlightenment that he himself experienced through the Hindu mystical tradition. In essence, Bramachari backed up what I am trying to get across in A Time of Departing , that all the world’s mystical traditions basically come from the same source and teach the same precepts . . . and that source is not the God of the Old and New Testaments. The biblical God is not interspiritual! – Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing

Today, we arrive at a relatively well-known Chapter of Jeremiah– compared to most of this Book of Prophecy… The offer of Repentance is again enjoined, but with no success… In fact, greater opposition is plotted against the Prophet… I can really see why we never hear people saying, “Maybe he or she is a Jeremiah” or books written about the “Jeremiah Annointing.”

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make (Jer 18:1-4 NASB).

The “potter’s house” was where various utensils were made of clay. Jeremiah was to behold the work of the potter and learn a lesson concerning Judah.  God never mends what man mars. It is man who attempts of mend the vessel, but God creates something new.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. 9 Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it (Jer 18:5-10 NASB).

There can be no moral change in God. What is evil and wicked in His Sight cannot be wrong one day and right the next.  Moral changes in man are recognized by God, and He sovereignly judges and forgives according to an Eternal Standard.

Judah, or any nation for that matter, even on the brink of destruction, with judgment already pronounced, if they will repent, God will change His direction about what He had previously thought to do. It is not that God changes, but that men change through Repentance.

So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’ 12 But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart’ (Jer 18:11-12 NASB).

The people believed Jeremiah was just a plain old killjoy, claiming their souls were evil and their plans occult and pagan in nature. They denied every charge from God through Jeremiah against them.

“Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Ask now among the nations, who ever heard the like of this? The virgin of Israel has done a most appalling thing. 14 ‘Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country? Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away? 15 ‘For My people have forgotten Me, they burn incense to worthless gods and they have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, not on a highway, 16 To make their land a desolation, an object of perpetual hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and shake his head (Jer 18:13-16 NASB).

The “most appalling thing” was Israel forsaking Jehovah for Baal. The “virgin of Israel” has to do with what Israel should have been instead of what she actually was.  She was the only nation in the world which never the True God, and she abandoned Him for occultism and polluted worship.  And whenever God is forsaken, people receive nothing for their trade, though these “vanities” are made very enticing because of being easily deceived and led astray.

‘Like an east wind I will scatter them before the enemy; I will show them My back and not My face in the day of their calamity.’” 18 Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words” (Jer 18:17-18 NASB).

The people loved their false prophets, corrupt priests, and sorcery because they love the false gods of pagan which were behind them. They did not want God’s Way.

Do give heed to me, O Lord, and listen to what my opponents are saying! 20 Should good be repaid with evil? For they have dug a pit for me.  Remember how I stood before You to speak good on their behalf, so as to turn away Your wrath from them. 21 Therefore, give their children over to famine and deliver them up to the power of the sword; and let their wives become childless and widowed.  Let their men also be smitten to death, their young men struck down by the sword in battle (Jer 18:19-21 NASB).

This is actually a prophetic prayer of Jeremiah. It is not a prayer for the gratification of personal vengeance, such as fallen human nature would us, but the prayer of a crowned-counsel justly demanding a righteous judgment upon evil doers in the interest of truth and society.  If it is right for God to punish evildoers, then it is right to pray Him to do so in regard to men who have been forewarned of the consequences of their rebellion.   The “good” spoken of was the Word of God given to them for their edification.  But they willed evil, and so further evil they would have.

May an outcry be heard from their houses, when You suddenly bring raiders upon them; for they have dug a pit to capture me and hidden snares for my feet. 23 Yet You, O Lord, know all their deadly designs against me; do not forgive their iniquity or blot out their sin from Your sight. But may they be overthrown before You; deal with them in the time of Your anger! (Jer 18:22-23 NASB).

These individuals hated the Prophet so much that they “took counsel against him to kill him.” They were not satisfied to reject the Message, and they wanted to destroy the Messenger as well.  They did not desire forgiveness for their iniquities but denied their iniquities even existed.  There was no contrition for their spiritual adultery and occult pagan worship.

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame (Hebrews 6:1-6 NLT).