Jeremiah had a message for Judah’s final King (Zedekiah) in chapter 21. In this 22nd chapter there are messages for his three predecessors, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachim and Jehoiachin. King Josiah was the father of Zedekiah, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim and the grand father of Jehoiachin. Josiah became king when he was just 8 years old and the bible describes him thus: ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.’  What an excellent epitaph! Sadly his three sons and grandson all ‘did evil in the eyes of the Lord.’  The story of chapter 22 is the end of the line for these evil kings.

The 18th and 19th chapters of Jeremiah concern making (and breaking) pottery! In chapter 18 the pot is formed and in chapter 19 a finished pot is in view. Both are pictures of the people of Israel and their interaction with God: the Lord is the potter and Israel is the pot.

  1. A Royal delegation

As we discovered in chapter 20, it seems that the fate of Jerusalem and Judah was now sealed. Avoidance of God’s judgment (to be brought through the Babylonians) was no longer possible.

It was the final of the US open tennis championship last Saturday: Serena Williams versus Naomi Osaka. A winner of 23 grand slam titles versus a 20 year old yet to win a major title. Serena Williams was a set down when she was given a warning for illegal side-line ‘coaching’, then at 3-2 up in set 2, Williams was given a point penalty for smashing her racket in rage and at 3-4 down she initiated a tirade of abuse at the umpire.

Jeremiah has demonstrated that Israel can by its own actions alter the course of God’s plans. Although they are like a pot that is spoiled on the potter’s wheel and headed for destruction, repentance can bring about a change. But Israel would not repent, and the pot is now hardened, complete and ready for judgment! It seems that when a nation becomes like Judah and turns its back on God that the people and the institutions of that nation begin to suppress expression of the truth.

In the previous chapter we saw how difficult it was for Jeremiah to cope with the pressure of being God’s spokesman. The message he had to deliver was outrageously difficult and the response he received was not for the faint hearted.