Jer. 13:1-14; 18:1-17; 36:1-32; 25:1-14
Many of the biblical writings are in parables and symbols. Symbolically, God had wrapped Israel and Judah around His waist as one would use a sash or loincloth. They had refused to hear and obey Him, but had turned to false idol gods. To demonstrate the deteriorated condition of His people, God instructed Jeremiah to place a sash in a rock near the Euphrates River for a period of time. Upon returning after many days, Jeremiah saw that the sash had rotted and was good for nothing—so shall be the pride of Judah and Jerusalem as they would be cast out of their land. Another symbol that He used was filled wine bottles. As people are destroyed by drunkenness, in like manner, the inhabitants of Jerusalem would suffer the same fate.
Since pottery vessels were widely used, there are many references in the Scriptures to potters and their wares. Sometimes during the turning of a new piece of pottery on the potter’s wheel, a hard lump of clay would cause a malformed vessel. With the hard clay removed and as long as the remaining clay was pliable, it could be reformed into a more usable product. God’s power to shape lives is limited only by the pliability or willingness of one to accept in repentance His “molding on the potter’s wheel.” He is the Potter; we are the clay. The “clay of Judah” had become too hard to mold; therefore, they had been rejected as a useless piece of pottery. It is up to us as individuals and as nations to be willing to yield to the hands of God.
In the fourth year of King Jehoiakim, God instructed Jeremiah to write His words on a scroll. Baruch became the penman who recorded the words that God had spoken to the prophet. Since it seems that Jeremiah had been banned from speaking in the temple, he instructed Baruch to read the words of the scroll in the temple to the people during a day of fasting. In time, during the fifth year of the king’s reign, the contents of the scroll were read in the house of the Lord during a time of fasting and passed up the chain of command to the king. With fear coming upon the princes, they sent Jeremiah and Baruch into hiding to escape the wrath of the king. As an act of defiance, Jehoiakim burned the scroll. One may ignore the word of God. He may attempt to destroy it by cutting it out or burning it, but His message and its consequences WILL remain. Baruch was given another scroll to rewrite God’s message and, “there were added to them many similar words.”
Jeremiah’s message from God stated that since the Judeans had not heeded His words urging them to repent, they would be invaded by the “families of the north…and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon.” That desolation would not only include Judah, but other nations around them. “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” At the conclusion of the seventy years as Judah would be freed, Babylon would also be punished for her evil ways.