Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two Baskets of Figs - Jeremiah 24

Jeremiah 24:1 "The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple o f the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon."

(Note: I noticed that in Jeremiah the king of Babylon's name was spelled with an 'r' after Nebuchad- while in Daniel it is an 'n' and makes the name as we pronounce it today.)

We have in this chapter a very simple illustration. One basket of figs would go off into captivity in Babylon and would be looked after by the LORD. The other basket of figs would try to stay in Jerusalem/Judah but would be scattered far and wide, never to return.

Jeremiah preached that trouble was coming but the local prophets preached that everything was just fine and not to worry. Jeremiah apparently told the people to submit to the king of Babylon. It was chastisement and so would have been the correct thing to do.

v5 "Thsu saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them tht are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the chaldeans for their good."

The last phrase being key "for their good." and "I have sent".

v7 "And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."

People sometimes drift away from the LORD. It is then that as children they are punished. Punishment not from hate but from love. Punishment that is meant to draw the children back to doing the right thing. So it was with Israel, the remnant.

Not so for those who rebelled.

v9 "And 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 whither I shall drive them."

If one just picked up the Bible and read this passage without reading the previous chapters, it would seem a cruel thing. But look back and it will be justified.

II Kings 24:4 "And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon."

Just one verse that tells of the evil that was going on in Israel.

They had been given a way to avoid this captivity and the scattering:

II Chronicles 7:14 "If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

But they would not.

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