Jeremiah 18 has our prophet getting some lessons at the potter’s house. God’s word came to him as he watches and learns from the potter who is working at his wheel. “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words”. Jeremiah does and enters the house to see the potter create something that didn’t turn out as desired, so he reworked it into another vessel. God gives Jeremiah the first of His words: “can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand”. The truth is clear that God is the Author of life. God is sovereign and has the right to do whatever He wishes with us. But He wants to created good.
God gives Jeremiah two possible outcomes for people. The first was “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it”. God is a God of restoration. If we repent and turn from our sin, He’s there to bring us to Himself and set us free from the bad outcome that would happen as a result of sin. He wants us to be restored to Him. Jesus is the way we can get to God.
On the other hand, Jeremiah receives these words for the opposite response. “And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it”. The hard lesson here is that sin carries a price, no matter at what point it happens. The requirement is clear: “Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds”. God’s requirements aren’t changing. Sin will be dealt with. The only hope is for us to confess, repent and receive His gift of salvation through Christ.
Unfortunately, the people in Jeremiah’s time are in the same place much of our world is today. “We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart”. We’re not listening to God or anyone else for that matter. We will do what we want and feels good, without regard to what might be the outcome. “My people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods”. This doesn’t play well with God. We are not in charge. And there is a price to pay for our stubbornness. “Like the east wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity”. We must not forget God, nor the consequences of our sinful choices. There is a payment coming. We need to seek His face, confess our sin, repent and seek His salvation!