This is my final email in the study of Jeremiah. While scanning through this book I am left with some impacts that affect me today. Jeremiah is not a book simply dictated by God and written by Baruch from the words of Jeremiah, but, it is a relevant book for the 21st century. It is relevant for our nation. It is relevant for our church and it is relevant for you. Here are a couple of reminders.
"For My people have committed a double evil:
They have abandoned Me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns that cannot hold water." 2:13
A few years ago some people asked my Uncle Omer if they could dig rock from his property. They found a rock quarry on his property and began digging. They hit a spring that poured clean water that would not stop. After the digging had stopped my uncle allowed the quarry to fill up with water that created a nice one-acre pond for swimming and fishing.
The spring has never stopped flowing. It is a spring of running water.
Linda and I bought a house while pastoring near Cleveland, Ohio. There was a cistern that we had to fill to have water in our house. We would call a company to come and fill our cistern before it would run dry. The problem we had was that the cistern was cracked and could not hold water for more than a few days. It was a broken cistern.
What was the lesson to the Jews? God is that spring of living, clean, water that will never stop running. Everyone who puts their faith in Him will be allowed to draw from the living waters that God provides. It will never run dry.
But, for the person who leaves the freshwater that God provides they will be drawing their strength from a cistern of water...a BROKEN cistern of water...that will run dry and leave you empty! That is exactly what Israel and Judah did and their source for living ran out!
A second metaphor that God gives to Jeremiah is found in chapters 18-19.
"'Go down at once to the potter's house; there I will reveal My words to you.'
So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.
But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter's hand,
so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do." 18:2-4
The potter was making a vessel. While in his hand it became marred. Because the clay was soft and pliable the potter was able to reshape the vessel and make it into a good vessel. God says to Israel..."I can do the same for you!" Israel had become marred while in the hand of God...the Potter. Through their repentance, God can reshape Israel and make them into a beautiful vessel again. But...up to this point, Israel and Judah have been rejecting God's offer and living their own lives...their way.
In contrast... in chapter 19 Jeremiah is told to purchase a hardened vessel and follow His directions.
"Then you are to shatter the jar in the presence of the people traveling with you,
and you are to proclaim to them: This is what the Lord of Hosts says:
I will shatter these people and this city, like one shatters a potter's jar that can never again be mended." 19:10-11
I realize that God can do anything He desires with us, but, we DO have a say in His decision. It's your choice how you decide to live your life. You can choose to follow your own instincts. You can do your own thing. You can do what YOU think is best for YOU. That's your choice.
But...and this is the big "but"...the results of your choices and decisions are NOT UP TO YOU...They are up to God!
God's word says it over and over again. You have a free will. You make the decisions for your life. If you choose God's way and will for your life He will bless you in a multitude of ways. He will care for you. He will give you security. He will give you peace.
but...if you make the decisions for your life He will pull away. He will allow the world's judgments to blindside you. He will allow you to fall. He will allow you to fail.
It's YOUR choice. Be filled with God's springs of living water or live with broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
1. A cistern is artificial...a fountain is natural.
2. A cistern is static...a fountain is living.
3. A cistern evaporates...a fountain flows forever.
Be a pliable vessel in the hand of God and let Him make you a beautiful vessel. A few years ago while in the country of Hungary I visited a village that was native to the Anabaptists who lived there centuries ago. I remember purchasing a clay vessel that was Anabaptist from the 15th century. It is hardened and it is beautiful.
That's what God wants you to be. A beautiful vessel made by Him and in His hands.
Finally, I remind you of the promise of God found in Jeremiah that has brought comfort and hope to so many of us through the years.
God says in Jeremiah 29:11-13:
"For I know the plans I have for you--this is the Lord's declaration--
plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart."
May God Bless You!
TO GOD BE ALL GLORY!