JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 24 -25:12 THE NAUGHTY FIGS
JEREMIAH – CHAPTER 24 – THE NAUGHTY FIGS
Chapter 25 – Jeremiah’s Sermon
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the Year of Our Lord
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
This sermon I preached in 2008 on The Naughty Figs (Jer. 24) is probably my most infamous sermon ever preached in Texas. The King James Version clearly calls the “bad figs” “naughty figs.” I preached with my usual fire and passion the Word of God describing the metaphor of the “Naughty Figs.” Those who heard it that day have never forgotten that message. However, their memory is how hilarious they thought it was that I preached on the “Naughty Figs.” I will humble myself again. I gather most preachers skip the sermon on the “Naughty Figs.”
Remember the “buried sash” The “wine bottles?” And the “clay pots?” Now, God uses two baskets of figs, one holding rotten fruit and the other good and pleasant fruit as clear examples of Judah’s people.
God’s basic question to the citizens of Judah was:
“What kind of fig are you or in which basket shall you be placed?’
We will call this: “FIG BASKET THEOLOGY”
It is now more than twelve years since Josiah’s death. Zedekiah, who will prove to be Judah’s last king, is reigning. Jehoiachin, Josiah’s grandson, has been taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar along with his officials and many skilled workers. The golden vessels have also been removed from the temple (2 Ki. 24;13). Perhaps, people might be thinking to themselves, “the worst is now over.”
The books of the prophets belong to the time of the nation’s decline, the exile, and the return to their homeland. Isaiah, Joel, and Micah prophesied before Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 586 B.C. Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah prophesied at the time of the fall and during the captivity.
God sent these prophets on a daunting and sometimes dangerous mission. They were for the most part dispatched at the eleventh hour, to try to halt the people’s head long rush to destruction; to warn them of judgment; to call them back to God in repentance and after the great crash came, to comfort the survivors with the assurance of God’s continuing love and purpose for them.
Once judgment is in the land, the message of the prophet changes from “repent” to “comfort.”
Jeremiah was a leader in the brilliant constellation of prophets clustered around the destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, a fellow priest, somewhat younger than Jeremiah, preaching in Babylon among the captives, the same things that Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem. Daniel a man of royal blood was holding the line in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar. Habakkuk and Zephaniah were helping Jeremiah in Jerusalem. Nahum, at the same time was predicting the fall of Nineveh. Obadiah, at the same time was predicting the ruin of Edom.
The judgment of God was world-wide.
At this time, the prophet receives the vision of the two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple.
Jer. 24:1-3: The Lord showed me, and behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord, after Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smith, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said the Lord to me, what see you, Jeremiah? And I said, figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
The good figs represent the best of the people who had been carried to Babylon in Jehoiakim’s captivity (597 B.C.), and earlier deportations, including Ezekiel and Daniel. The bad figs spoke of those who had remained in Jerusalem who were minded (with Egypt’s help) to resist Babylon.
Jer. 24:4-7: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel; like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, who, I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set My eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God; they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
The Lord sent them into exile for their good.
1. Whom, I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
2. I will set My eyes on them for good.
3. I will bring them back to this land.
4. I will build them and not put them down.
5. I will plant them and not pluck them up.
6. I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD.
7. They shall be My people, and I will be their God.
8. They shall return to me with their whole heart.
“The gracious words continue. The LORD planned their early captivity as part of his design to eventually bless them. It is the Lord who takes the initiative, moving upon his people by his grace, but the response of his people is critical as well. Man is unable to redeem himself to cure the sickness of the heart. What hurts the soul, the soul adores. A prophet can give man a new word, but not a new heart. It is God who must give man a heart to know that He is God. God will give the good figs a heart to know God” (Michael L. Brown, Commentary on Jeremiah)
The bad figs had a clear destiny as well: death and defilement:
Jeremiah 24: 8-10: The evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus says the Lord, so will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in the land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt. I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they are consumed from off the land that I gave to them and to their fathers.”
This destruction is described in 2 Chronicles 36: 12-36: Zedekiah did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God…he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar…he stiffened his neck, hardened his heart from turning to the Lord God of Israel…all the chief priests and the people transgressed after all the abominations of the heathen and polluted the house of the Lord…the Lord God sent to them His messengers…but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.
After calling them to repentance, God will forsake those who forsake Him. A righteous God must judge righteously and then restore.
1. I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt.
2. I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them.
3. I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.
This judgment was for all the remaining citizenry who were loyal to the King and followed government policy, along with those who fled to Egypt in an escapist action. God declared He personally would take them in hand to trouble them and promised to summon His angelic assistance of judgment, the sword, famine and pestilence.
Good Figs: Obeyed and submitted to the hand of God. They heard and did his will.
Naughty Figs: They refused to submit to God. They followed the government of an evil King.
We must hear and follow God, not the government of men. Never submit to Satan in a government, marriage, or to a religious leader.
Bill Yount pointed out Sunday, yes, we must pray for evil men and women in government. Yes, that they get saved. However, we are instructed:
1 Co. 5:5: Deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
“Rule of Thumb: Prior to captivity, national governments inevitably depart from God through their edicts and decrees. This action is traceable in both ancient and modern history. They implement programs and establish rules within which the saint cannot comply. It was so with Daniel, the Hebrew children and thousands of others who have shed their blood in resistance to malfeasance throughout history” (Dr. C. R. Oliver – The Road to Captivity).
JEREMIAH – CHAPTER 25 – PROPHETIC FLASH BACK SERMON
Rather than preach this chapter is out of chronological order, I choose to teach that Jeremiah is again reciting the history of prophetic words give to him by the LORD. He is preaching what the Lord gave to him. He is telling them AGAIN how they have missed God.
He clearly states, he is now 23-years into his prophetic ministry. His servant, Baruch, has been dutifully recording all of his words. This is a very extensive history of prophetic work in the form of a sermon. Plenty of time had been given to turn a nation. Long before Nebuchadnezzar was powerful enough to conquer Judah, God had him lying in the background like some tiger in the bamboo cage.
Jeremiah 25:1-4: The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon). This is the twenty-third year in which the word of the LORD has come to me. I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. The Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but you have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear.
(Jus’ sayin’ not sure if it is relevant, but it has been 23-years that I have been preaching in Texas?) We moved here in Dec. 1997, but it was 1998 before I started preaching again.
A single consistency is noted throughout the twenty-three years of Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry, “you have not listened.” That is not true of the leadership of Eastgate church. You have been listening, praying and seeking God. Not so, our government leaders. America, the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets. They have traveled to and fro across the land.
I ask you Pastors and Prophets have you preached the Word of God for the times we are in, or have you sought to seek crowds, fame and name?
25: 5-7: NIV: The prophets said, turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them. Do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you. But you did not listen to me, declares the Lord, and you have provoked me with what your hands have made. You have brought harm to yourselves.
In verse 7, it appears the Lord has added a codicil to Jeremiah’s sermon. “You did it yourselves, to your own hurt.”
Verses 25: 8-14 are a repeat of what we have studied in prior chapters of words Jeremiah has delivered.
There are several things to note:
1. “You have not heard My words.” How is that possible? We know their ears were dull and they wrote the prophets off as “religious talk.” They chose their lusts and judgments over the blessing of God.
2. “Nebuchadnezzar, My Servant?” He was God’s chosen instrument of judgment.
3. “I will utterly destroy them.” God took an active role in the judgment phase. He brought the inhabitants to the North.
4. “The voice of mirth, bridegroom, bride and millstones, light: In judgment those things which produce a spirit of community were removed. America went through this during the COVID shutdown.
5. An exact prophecy: 70 yrs. Exact timing to month, day and year.
6. Verse 12: Perpetual Desolation for God’s instrument of judgment.
7. “I will repay them.” The Lord is a great records keeper. After the Babylonians served their usefulness as an agent of judgment, He caused judgment to come on them. The exact duration of Babylon’s dominion is foretold (606-536 B.C.). Jeremiah prophesied “when the seventy years are accomplished, God will punish the king of Babylon and that nation for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.”
For seventy years Babylon was to rule the world, the same 70 years as the Captivity of the Jews.
25: 15-17: The Wine cup of fury is a sermon unto itself.
Thus says the LORD GOD of Israel to me, “Take the wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them Then I took the cup from the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom ethe LORD had sent me.
We will start here next week. If the Lord is willing, we will do a sermon on it.
Carolyn Sissom, Pastor
Eastgate Ministries Church
Scripture from KJV and NIV. I entered into the labors of Principles of Present Truth by: Kelly Varner; The Road To Captivity by: Dr. C. R. Oliver; Michael L. Brown, Jeremiah; Sermons on The Naughty Figs by Carolyn Sissom; Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.