19:9 - God knows that when he allows His people to come under siege that their selfish sinfulness will show through...even when facing off against the consequences that their disgusting actions have brought upon them, the people will exhibit self-serving behavior beyond imagination - they will begin to devour one another.
19:10-11 - Jeremiah uses a powerful object illustration. He buys a piece of pottery, brings the Jewish leaders outside with him and smashed it to smithereens on the ground. Imagine the shock as they see the prophet of God hurl the pottery to the ground in front of them without a word. I imagine that he then looks them each in the eye and says you and the rest of the people of God will be shattered like this pot for from transgressions...you will be beyond repair. Fortunately the things that are beyond repair for men are well within the redeeming powers of God, and eventually God will rebuild His people.
20:2 - Where did we ever get the idea that God wants us to be happy? Where did Christians ever come up with the false theology that if they believe in God life will go smoothly and they will be successful? I don't really see that in scripture. God doesn't want us to be blindly happy...He wants us to find joy in faithfulness and hope in trusting Him. Every time I read scripture about people who are absolutely committed to the way of God, their lives are generally harder from a worldly standpoint. Jeremiah is one of the least "successful" ministers of all time, yet he is also one of the most faithful. What do you think that means?
20:9 - If we allow the word of God to sink into our hearts and minds, it is like a fire burning within us that cannot be contained. It is a fire that burns through us and cleanses us...it destroys the lies and selfishness within us. In Luke chapter 24, two disciples of Jesus are unable to see him because of their confusion and sorrow at his death on the cross. When Jesus tells them how the scriptures prophesied that the Messiah would have to suffer and die, it says that they began to feel the truth from the Word burning within them. Their fears and sorrow were burned away and they were able to see that the man speaking to them was Jesus. The Word is powerful and active in our lives if we allow it to be.
20:13 - Jeremiah goes back and forth between complaining to God about the treatment that he is receiving from his fellow Hebrews and praising God. Even in difficult times, he finds a way to praise God. I see this as a sign of true faith. Am I able to praise God in times of trouble?
20:18 - Just because he trusts in God and remains faithful does not make his difficult task any easy...he still has questions and doubts...that doesn't negate his belief.
21:2 - The leaders of Israel come to Jeremiah hoping for a positive sign (Pretty funny after they have been mocking and beating him for the things he has to say)...they hope that God will deal with them according to the goodness of God (Which is REALLY good!), but instead God deals with them according to their own corruption (Which is not good for them). Fortunately for us, in Jesus, God dealt with every human that has ever existed according to His own goodness granting us salvation that would have been impossible on our own merits.
21:14 - God punishes according to the fruit of their lives - the outcomes of their actions...in the agricultural imagery used by Jeremiah, all the fruit that is rotten will be burned up by the wrath and judgment of God to make way for new plants with good fruit. When we were in the redwood forests north of San Francisco, we were told that natural fires are good for forest ecosystems, because they allow the nutrients to be replenished in the soil so that the plants grow back even stronger after the blaze. This reminds me of 2 Peter chapter three where the judgment of the Lord is described as coming in fire in the end. Yet it also says that the earth will be remade and all the works of the earth will be revealed...the good will remain and the evil will be burned away. Live everyday to bring righteousness to the world because it is lasting...the evil deeds of man are simply fuel for the fires of judgment.