05 – Jer 18-20 The Potter, the Pot, & the ProphetJeremiah & Lamentations
At the potter’s house, Yahweh (the LORD) powerfully and graphically illustrates and explains His relationship to Judah and all the nations. On the one hand, because He is the potter, He is sovereign and free to do whatever He chooses with the clay. On the other hand, however, the outcome is not predetermined. The clay (Judah and the nations) is also free, and responsible, to choose. If the clay turns from evil to good, or from good to evil, God Himself changes what He decrees the outcome to be. God is in control, and man is able and accountable to choose.
These events probably occurred during the reign of Jehoiakim, the king who burned Jeremiah’s prophetic scrolls (36:21ff.). Unlike his father, King Josiah, Jehoiakim had no love for either the Lord or His prophet. He wasn’t the least bit interested in what Jeremiah had to say about things political or spiritual. – Warren Wiersbe
Pottery making was common in the ancient Near East. Potters commonly used a wheel, turned by foot, as they shaped a lump of clay with their hands. The vessel was then fired in a kiln to make it hard. – Walter Kaiser, Jr.
- Jer 18 The Re-Forming Potter
18:1-4 The Craftsman and the Clay
18:5-10 The Sovereign and the Subjects
If a pot (nation) turns to good or evil, the potter (God) turns, too.
18:11-17 The Failure and the Forecast
Judah could turn but won’t. “Unheard of,” unnatural. Scattered.
18:18-23 The Plot and the Plea
Their plot: attack him with their words while ignoring his.
His plea: to God to judge them harshly as evil, unrepentant.
- Jer 19 The Ruined Pot
19:1-9 Bring the Pot and Preach the Point
Valley of Ben-Hinnom (Topheth), to be called valley of Slaughter.
Harsh reality: cannibalism during siege. Lev 26:29; Dt 28:53, 55
19:10-15 Break the Pot and Preach the Point
Yahweh to break the city and its people, as a jar beyond repair.
Soft clay can be reshaped; brittle clay cannot endure.
Idolatry, stiff necks, refusal to heed Yahweh’s words.
- Jer 20 The Rejected Prophet
20:1-6 Jeremiah’s Torture
Beaten, put in stocks by priest Pashhur. Yet he still “lets him have it!”
20:7-18 Jeremiah’s Torment
7-8 Jeremiah complains of deception and derision.
9 Jeremiah cannot quit or quench his godly fire.
10 Jeremiah quotes his foes and false friends.
11-13 Jeremiah praises the LORD for His deliverance.
14-18 Jeremiah mourns and curses his birth and life.