My mom had a unique way of always being right in her advice to me about certain life choices. I would present an option; she would advise of the pitfalls of that option. I would do it anyway, because as a young woman in my early twenties, I thought I knew exactly what was best for me. After all, I’m twenty!
It only took days to figure out that the option I chose did, indeed, have pitfalls. I tried to speak positively about them, deny them and ignore them. But the pitfalls became too big to get around, over or through. I had to deal with them. Worst of all, I had to admit she was right.
We humans are like that. We think we can go our own way without consequences. We think we know it all. When we are proven wrong, we lie about what is right. We blame others. We look the other way. We cover up. We either repent, turn back to the reality of who and what is right—or not.
God has a way of turning the bad choices we make into good lessons for living life while growing his character in us. But do we let him? If we really believed, we would let Him.
Jeremiah 18, The Message
To Worship the Big Lie
18 1-2 God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”
3-4 So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.
5-10 Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel. At any moment I may decide to pull up a people or a country by the roots and get rid of them. But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them. At another time I might decide to plant a people or country, but if they don’t cooperate and won’t listen to me, I will think again and give up on the plans I had for them.
11 “So, tell the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem my Message: ‘Danger! I’m shaping doom against you, laying plans against you. Turn back from your doomed way of life. Straighten out your lives.’
12 “But they’ll just say, ‘Why should we? What’s the point? We’ll live just the way we’ve always lived, doom or no doom.’”
* * *
13-17 God’s Message:
Survey the godless nations.
Has anyone heard the likes of this?
Virgin Israel has become a slut!
Does snow disappear from the Lebanon peaks?
Do alpine streams run dry?
But my people have left me
to worship the Big Lie.
They’ve gotten off the track,
the old, well-worn trail,
And now bushwhack through underbrush
in a tangle of roots and vines.
Their land’s going to end up a mess—
a fool’s memorial to be spit on.
Travelers passing through
will shake their heads in disbelief.
I’ll scatter my people before their enemies,
like autumn leaves in a high wind.
On their day of doom, they’ll stare at my back as I walk away,
catching not so much as a glimpse of my face.”
* * *
18 Some of the people said, “Come on, let’s cook up a plot against Jeremiah. We’ll still have the priests to teach us the law, wise counselors to give us advice, and prophets to tell us what God has to say. Come on, let’s discredit him so we don’t have to put up with him any longer.”
19-23 And I said to God:
“God, listen to me!
Just listen to what my enemies are saying.
Should I get paid evil for good?
That’s what they’re doing. They’ve made plans to kill me!
Remember all the times I stood up for them before you,
speaking up for them,
trying to soften your anger?
But enough! Let their children starve!
Let them be massacred in battle!
Let their wives be childless and widowed,
their friends die and their proud young men be killed.
Let cries of panic sound from their homes
as you surprise them with war parties!
They’re all set to lynch me.
The noose is practically around my neck!
But you know all this, God.
You know they’re determined to kill me.
Don’t whitewash their crimes,
don’t overlook a single sin!
Round the bunch of them up before you.
Strike while the iron of your anger is hot!”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
OPTION ONE: God, our creator, the “potter of our being,” who knew us before we were born, loves us and wants the best life for us—forever! He is constantly molding and shaping us to be all he created us to be for His glory and for our eternal good.
OPTION TWO: The world, led by the prince of darkness, the father of lies, the one who leads all to death, wants to destroy us.
These are the two choices. Our options have outcomes.
If we really believed in God, Jesus as Savior, His Holy Spirit as our guide; we would never turn our backs on his wisdom, his ways, his leading and most of all his redeeming forgiveness of all our sins.
If we really believed God; we would go to Him first—not last when life is falling apart.
If we really believed in God’s relentless, unconditional love; we would love each other more deeply.
If we really believed in Jesus’ laying down his life for ours; our hope would be unshakable!
If we really believed in God’s Holy Spirit; we would listen to his advice and obey quickly.
If we really believed in God’s power; we would go through tough times with faith and assurance that nothing is impossible with God.
If we really believed in Jesus’ words; fear of the world would be taken from our being and even our vocabulary and replaced by a deep, abiding, forever love. “Love drives out fear.”
If we really believed that God knows us and sees us; we would live this day knowing, without a doubt, He is with us, helping us.
If we really believed in what Jesus said; we would be getting ready for Jesus’ return to earth to claim his own.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. –Jesus (John 14:1-3, NIV)
I believe. I really believe you and what you say. I really believe that you are coming back and, in the meantime, you are with me right now surrounding me with your love, care and compassion. So, believing, I will live this day…In Jesus Name, Amen