GOOD & BAD FIGS
Prepare my heart, Father, to receive and apply what you would have me see in your Word today.
Read JEREMIAH 24
Two Baskets of Figs
24 After Jehoiachin[a] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
3 Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.[b] 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
8 “‘But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the Lord, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9 I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse[c] and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWould you be prepared to relocate for God? What if your new home was less comfortable?
In typical Jeremiah fashion, we have now jumped forward to a point when the rulers and elite of the nation have been carted off into exile (v 1). Perhaps, to some despairing Israelites, it felt like the end of their story. Not so, of course. One wonder of the Scriptures is that they provide us with a God’s-eye view—and, even for non-believers, it is surely a marvel of history that the saga of Israel continues to this day.
No prizes for working out the meaning of this vision. The fascinating question is just why God chooses to favor those taken away to wicked Babylon (vs 4-7) and not the remnant who remain at home (vs 8-10). The answer is not entirely clear, and this is a good occasion to acknowledge the principle that God is sovereign. His under- standing is total, and his purpose is entirely good. However, his response here does tie in with other times when it is evident that God deals more readily with a complete brokenness, followed by a fresh, new start, rather than dealing with bungled human plans. There is a message here for us if we are inclined to cling to crumbling remains of past comforts when our Lord is telling us to properly move on.
Are there things you retain in your spiritual life, habits or ideas that are no longer enriching, either for you or for his church?
Loving Father, I know that you have plans for me, plans for hope and a future. Show me those things in my life that would stand in the way of my experiencing your best for me.
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