Jeremiah 18, 19 and 20
THE POTTER’s HOUSE – 2021 - Israel
Jeremiah 18, 19 and 20
Taught by: Carolyn Sissom
October 28, 2008; May 11, 2021
When I taught this in 2008, I focused the shaping of the piece of clay in the potter’s hand on God’s sovereignty of shaping and molding his people. However, today, May 10, 2021, Jerusalem as well as the nation of Israel is being bombed by Hamas. I believe the Democrat Administration is funding and enabling Hamas via Iran. Israel’s government is dysfunctional and without a miracle from God, Israel may not be able to defend themselves especially against the condemnation of the United Nations.
This is an oracle of major national significance. Namely that God has the same sovereign freedom as the potter and that Israel in his hand is just like clay in the potter’s hand. The United States as well as all the nations of the world are no less.
Lord Jesus give me the strength and courage to preach this message.
Let us keep the focus that this judgment is for those who choose evil, worship idols and reject the Lord. For those who are seeking the Lord, and following Jesus, we will be blessed and receive the glory of Heaven on earth.
The theme of the Lord God as the sovereign potter of the universes continues through chapter 20.
Jeremiah 18: 1-12: This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you, my message. So, I went down to the potters’ house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so, the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me, O’ house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? Declares the LORD, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand. O’ house of Israel, if at any time I announce that nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. If at another time, I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, this is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So, turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions. But they will reply, it’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.” (N.I.V.)
Nations and mankind are a work that God the potter is making on the wheel of their choices over good and evil. The Potter’s workshop is the arena in which the Potter does His work. It speaks of one’s heart, home and family, local church, nation or planet earth. All of us who have been blessed to be on the Potter’s Wheel know that we came out of the breaking and re-making as another man or another woman.
This is Jeremiah’s Seventh oracle from the Lord. The Prophet was instructed to go to a potter’s house and watch him at work on a piece of clay as it yielded to every touch of the master-hand while it spun on the potter’s wheel. There was skill as the deft hands moved, but while Jeremiah watched, a calamity took place as the vessel became misshapen. There was a blemish in the clay. Removing the foreign body, he kneaded the lump together again and soon began to refashion it into another vessel. “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter…?”
The whole scene at the potter’s house was “as it seemed good to the potter.”
Jeremiah could only stand and behold the wisdom and skill of the master. Jeremiah was watching a picture of his own life and ministry, as well as the foreordained destiny of Judah, the church, nations and the creation!
Romans 9: 20-24: For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God; for we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. Not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: and hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he then yet hope for?
Israel and all nations of the earth are not autonomous or independent, but completely in the control of Yahweh. The offer to repent is still extended to the nation.
18: 13-17: Therefore, this is what the Lord says: Inquire among the nations; who has ever heard anything like this? A most horrible thing has been done by Virgin Israel. Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever cease to flow? Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways and in the ancient paths. They made them walk in bypaths, and on roads not built up. Their land will be laid waste, an object of lasting scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads. Like a wind from the east, I will scatter them before their enemies. I will show them by back and not my face in the day of their disaster. (N.I.V.)
The judgment will and has been remembered for years to come. This prophecy was fulfilled. This was and will be the scattering work of the Lord. The future work is for the evil and rebellious, not for those who are following after the Lord with their whole heart. In the day of disaster, those who have refused to humble themselves to the Lord will be shown His back and not his face. Let us not fear, though we may be grieved, we will be in the His glory and experience His face.
But instead of repent and accepting the new life that God was offering, the people sought to take the prophet’s life.
18:18-23: Then say they, “Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. Listen to me, Lord; hear what my accusers are saying! Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them. So, give their children over to famine. Hand them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows. Let their men be put to death, their young men slain by the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses when you suddenly bring invaders against them. For they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet. But you know, O’ Lord all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you. Deal with them in the time of your anger.
Jeremiah has subtle opponents who seek to entrap him with his own words. This is a trick of religious and political spirits. The Pharisees did the same to Jesus:
Mark 12:13: They sent unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
Jeremiah spoke openly against kings, priests, wise men and prophets, (4:9; 8: 8-9) yet they were confident the old established order would remain. They would use Jeremiah’s words as a basis of a charge of treason against him for undermining the morals of the people. This is an imprecatory prayer speaking God’s judgment from the heart of God, not from the vengeance of the prophet.
If the Lord sends you forth with a Word of Repentance, these devils are still alive and well. Don’t give them place. Don’t fight with them. Just keep walking through the Open Door set before you.
We can compare the parable in this chapter with Jeremiah’s commission in Jer. 1:10: See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Matthew 28: 18-20: Jesus came and spoke unto them saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, a and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Hos. 6: 1-3: Come and let us return unto the Lord: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight? Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
God wanted His people to see that He is sovereign and therefore can do as He pleases.
Chapter 19 is the chapter of the earthen bottle. Jeremiah was told by the Lord to take along the elders of the people and of the priests, purchase a bottle from the potter and break it in front of the leaders.
We should identify the timing of these two messages as it was after the capture of King Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar, II and the appointment of King Zedekiah.
This is Jeremiah’s “Hinnon” message at the dumps used for depositing broken pottery. Topheth was the center of the cruel Molech cult. The Potsherd Gate (later the Dung Gate of Neh. 2:13) led to Hinnom, the location of the idol Molech, where children were offered. God will shatter the city and all of its idolatry! The clay of chapter 18 could be remade, but the heart of the Judeans had become hardened (like the bottle) and was now beyond repair.
Jeremiah had an elite entourage with him. We can safely say the timing was after Nebuchadnezzar, II came the first time (597 B.C.). He appointed Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin (who ruled only 3 months and 10 days). Jehoiachin was captured and was in exile in Babylon for 37 years. Jeremiah cursed Jehoiachin. Jer. 22: 28-30: This is what the LORD says: 'Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah. N.I.V.
Jeremiah was a counselor to Zedekiah, but he did not heed the prophet. His epitaph is “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Ki. 24: 19-20). King Zedekiah was 21 years old and ruled eleven years. It is undetermined as to whether it was 597 B.C. or 598 B.C. On the 11th year of his reign, the city of Jerusalem fell to Babylon (587-586 B.C.).
During Zedekiah’s reign, despite the strong warnings of Jeremiah, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon. He entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt. The kingdom was at that time a tributary to Nebuchadnezzar II. Nebuchadnezzar responded by invading Judah (2 Ki. 25:1). Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem for about thirty months. “every worst woe befell the city, which drank the cup of God’s fury to the dregs” (2 Ki. 25:3; Lam. 4: 4-9). Zedekiah and his followers attempted to escape, making their way out of the city. They were captured on the plains of Jericho and taken to Riblah. There, after seeing his sons put to death, Zedekiah’s eyes were put out. Being loaded with chains, he was carried captive to Babylon (2 Ki. 25: 1-7).
After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaradan was sent to destroy it. The city was plundered and razed to the ground. Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were permitted to remain in the land.
This is what Jeremiah is trying to warn the leaders as he breaks the jar. He is fighting the good fight of Faith to call this backslidden nation to repentance.
Jeremiah 19:1-6: Go and buy a clay jar from the potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O’ kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods. They have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal, something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. So, beware the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
19: 10-10-14: Break the jar while those who go with you are watching. Say to them. This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired.
This clearly spoke of the forthcoming complete break-up of the family and community. Jerusalem will burn like the pagan altar it had become. The prophet then ensures the message is heard by all by repeating it (V. 14) and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house; and said to all the people.”
20:1 “Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin which was by the house of the Lord.
The chief officers of the Temple were directed to get Jeremiah straightened out. His Public witness produces an immediate reaction from Pashhur the chief temple official responsible for order, who was also a priest and a prophet. It was his job to muzzle anyone who did not preach the same message which had been agreed upon by the counsel of priests and prophets.
Pashur means encompassed by plenty: prosperity round about; surrounded by nobility; liberty, freedom. He gets his name changed in verse 3-4. “Jehovah has not called your name Pashur, but Magor-Missabib… (“fear all around; fear everywhere; terror is about; terror on every side).
20:4: “For thus says the Lord, Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself, and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall behold it.”
No public scourging or mockery in a cramped position on a scaffold would make the prophet change his message, nor would from persecution do so. Jeremiah publicly identifies Pashur with the Babylonian calamity by renaming him, Terror on every side.
Note the precise prophecy that Pashhur would not be killed but exiled, that he would see his friends killed. The royal treasures would be taken, he would be exiled to Babylon.
Pashhur’s action against God’s messenger identifies him as a false prophet.
This is one of the most personally revealing passages in prophetic literature of the high cost of being the mouth piece of the Lord. At his blackest hour, perhaps while still imprisoned in the stocks, Jeremiah complains vigorously that God has deceived him. He was not a prophet of his own choice. At his call the Lord had overpowered him and promised him both His authority and His Words. Now he is laughed at by his witnesses—which had been largely one of warning of violence and destruction People are amused, but not convinced. Nothing had happened quickly to prove him right. His inner urge was to continue, for a true prophet cannot contain God’s message within himself. 20:9: “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, but his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. For I heard the defaming (slander) of many, fear on every side.”
However, opposition, including that of his friends he trusted has turned his own words back on him. Jeremiah is able to rise above his suffering of the ministry in a crescendo of faith and triumph. (11-13) “But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one; therefore, my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail; they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten, But, O Lord of Hosts, that tries the righteous, and sees the reins and the heart, let me see your vengeance on them, for unto you have I opened my cause. Sing unto the Lord, praise you the Lord: for he has delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
The remainder of the chapter is the prophet’s depression.
Now is the time to minister to the saints of the fear, anger, grief and depression that some feel over the pandemic and our recent election as well as the obvious intent of the Democrat Party to overturn our system of government.
As we continue our journey in Jeremiah, we will read of the Lord’s promise of restoration, “That the House of David, the house of Levi and the house of Israel shall flourish again and all thrive in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ; a gospel ministry. The gospel church shall continue while the world stands.
The Remnant church has interceded for the Lord to raise up righteous leaders who Fear and Honor God and His word. Our prayers have not been in vain. We have heard many prophetic words.
The Jeremiah anointing is calling the backslider to righteousness. Unless we have a revival of righteousness, the people of this country will not be righteous, nor will they elect righteous leaders.
Carolyn Sissom, Pastor
Eastgate Ministries, Inc.
Scripture from NIV and K.J.V. Quotes from F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary; Principles of Present Truth by Kelly Varner; Sermon by Carolyn Sissom 10/28/08; 11/9/09