Today: [Jeremiah 24] You are a Basket-Case! In chapter 24 of Jeremiah the prophet is shown 2 baskets of figs. One basket represents those who humbled themselves to God, the other basket portrayed those who resisted the consequences of their own willful decisions. Did you know you are a basket-case? The question is which basket are you?
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[Jer 24:1-10 KJV] 1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs [were] set before the temple of 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. 2 One basket [had] very good figs, [even] like the figs [that are] first ripe: and the other basket [had] very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3 Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 4 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for [their] good. 6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull [them] down; and I will plant them, and not pluck [them] up. 7 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. 8 And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: 9 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. 10 And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.
In chapter 24 of Jeremiah the prophet is shown by the hand of God two baskets of figs. We do not know if this was before or after the invasion of the Babylonians, but it deals with the aftermath of what God assures the prophet will come. There will be captivity. The Babylonians will come, they will invade and overthrow Judah and Jerusalem most assuredly. For much of the book of Jeremiah there was held out hope that if the people repented that there would be a reprieve, yet the people would not relent. Chapter 17 of Jeremiah tells us that the rebellion of the people is written on their hearts with a pen of iron and a diamond point. Now the overthrow of the nation is assured and will not be overturned. In fact, the message of Jeremiah at this point is to the people not to resist the captivity that is coming. They are told to submit to the hand of God, and to go willingly surrendered to the shores of the Euphrates, to serve the king of Babylon.
After the invasion of the Babylonians, there were two groups of people. There were those who were marched into captivity to the north to serve the invaders, and there were those along with king Zedekiah, who resisted the invasion, many of whom fled to Egypt to live as refugees. In Jeremiah’s vision, the group that goes into captivity is represented by a basket of good figs. The group that resisted invasion were portrayed as a basket of rotten figs. What is the message? There is a time that you might face the fact that you have made very bad decisions, you didn’t listen to God or heed His word – and then you reaped the consequences. Sometimes even when we know we are wrong, we do our best to resist having to deal with the consequences of our disobedience. As with those of Judah who fled to Egypt, the outcome is often only to make things worse for us.
In studying this chapter, we get an idea of what Jesus meant when He taught about agreeing with your adversary. The message of this chapter is that the people are called upon at a certain point to surrender to the inevitable. There are times that things are not going to get better, when we have simply not been found to be compliant with God’s directions in our lives and consequences are looming. These are moments we must consider giving in to God and trusting Him to walk you through the aftermath of your own sinful choices a behavior. Jesus put it this way:
[Mat 5:25 KJV] 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
In counseling, I have put this scripture to people many times. Very few were the instances where these words, not mine but God’s were heeded to the benefit of the hearers. More often than not people will follow the poor example of those in Judah that fled to Egypt and resisted to their own hurt the consequences of their own choices and lifestyle. In Jeremiah’s vision these are compared to a basket of rotten, corrupt fruit that are good for nothing but to be destroyed and thrown out. This was exactly what happened to the refugees in Egypt.
The back side of this story is that those who fled to Egypt, kidnapped Jeremiah and forced him to go with them. When he didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, it was in Egypt that Jeremiah, like Isaiah before him was sawn in two by a people who only wanted to hear smooth things are not the truth. What about you? Are you willing to hear hard correction? If God were to send someone to you in the midst of a very difficult situation (as the people were in Jer. 24), would you be able to hear a difficult word? Or would you reject the word and dismiss the instruction because it wasn’t to your liking? The answer to that question determines which basket of figs you may find yourself in at the end of a bad situation.
God is a God of order and also a God of mercy. He will be patient and give us much time to adjust our thinking and come into compliance with His will and His word. He will send messengers and ministers to us to expose wrong thinking, and idolatrous habits. He will bring to light by His spirit areas of our lives that are deeply offensive to Him and He will give us His promises as the incentive to change, reform and repent. If we are resistant however, know that we will not be left to ourselves. Sometimes when we run from the consequences of our actions we are actually running from God Himself. What we really need to do is humble ourselves to the situation, because in humbling ourselves to the situation we are humbling ourselves to God. In that position we will be like the basket of good figs – in a position to be blessed and to be a blessing, and have a future and a hope to look forward to.
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