He Is The Potter

Title: He Is The Potter

Bible Book: Jeremiah 18 : 01-12

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: God, Sovereignty of; Sovereign God



Dr. V. L. Stanfield and Dr. James Taylor taught Homiletics, the study of sermon preparation and delivery, at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when I was a student there. Dr. Stanfield took all the fun out of sermon titles, urging us to drop titles like SEVEN DUCKS IN A MUDDY RIVER, or FIVE THINGS GOD DOES NOT KNOW. Dr. Taylor reinforced what Dr. Stanfield said. We got the point. To these men, preaching was a serious business. The only problem was that some of those young preachers had a sense of humor that seemed to surface at strange times, like when they were trying to come up with a catchy title for a sermon. Of course, you have noticed that I am being careful with my personal pronouns. My professors also warned about overdoing the first personal pronoun. They even included the ministerial “we”, of which “they” are so fond.

I finally figured it all out: if it is good, you use “we”, but if it is bad, you use “they”. The only problem is that sometimes you are not too sure whether something is going to be good or bad. I am still confused about that. You may think this has nothing to do with our text today, but it has everything to do with it. “We” would never waste “your” time! Now, I don’t like to admit it but I still have moments of, shall “we” call it...levity. Since I first began looking at the text, I keep thinking of some way of giving this message an exciting title. I have been resisting it, especially, since I am drawing to the end of this series from Jeremiah - and since I have such deep reverence for this book. Okay, I will confess. I keep trying to think of some way to use the word Crackpot in some way that is neither offensive nor irreverent.

When I arrived on the campus at Mississippi College, I was fresh off a Mississippi Delta farm, seven miles west of Sledge, Mississippi, across the line in Tunica County. Where I lived you simply couldn’t get any farther from town. If I traveled east I was going toward Sledge, but if I traveled west I was going toward Lula. There were always some upperclassmen who loved to pull pranks on unsophisticated freshmen. One day some know-it-all upperclassman let me know he majoring in psychology. I was impressed. I thought anyone who could spell the word should be half way home. This wise guy asked me, “Do you know what a psycho-ceramic is?” He saw the puzzled look on my face and answered his own question: “It’s a crackpot.” Now, he was speaking my language. A crackpot!

Today, we are going to look at two pots, or vases. One will become a crackpot, but the other one is different. There are two messages in these two great sermon illustrations, and we need to understand both of them. Why do we need to understand them? Because I believe America is mirrored in the Book of Jeremiah.

We need to be very careful when we look into a mirror. Some times we see only what we want to see. When Abigail was about three months old, I was holding her in front of a full length mirror, enjoying holding my little granddaughter, amused at how long she stared at the baby in the mirror. She stared at herself for a long time without seeing anything else in the mirror. Maybe she knew she was looking at someone her size, but she just kept staring at the baby in the mirror. Finally, she glanced at the man holding the baby in the mirror and studied that image for a minute. Then, suddenly, she jerked her head around to look at her Papaw. It had dawned on her that the man in the mirror was her Papaw. I wondered if she understood that the baby in the mirror was her own reflection. I can assure you that she discovered who the baby in the mirror was before long. When we look at the Book of Jeremiah, I am convinced that we can see America reflected from almost every page. If you are not paying attention, however, you are going to miss something you don’t need to miss.


A. The Lord Sent Jeremiah to the Potter’s House, 18:1-4.

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do” (18:1-4).

1) Jeremiah writes, “The word of the Lord came to me” (vs. 1). Samuel said that the word of the Lord was very precious in his day, meaning that it was a very rare thing for the Lord to speak audibly to a human being. It would be rare in any day, which makes it more remarkable when you think of the way God communicated with Abraham or Moses. The Word of God has always been special, but before the Fall it had been very common. God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before they chose to sin. Sin brought immediate spiritual separation and spiritual death, and it time it would mean their physical death.

Jeremiah was called to a special ministry, chosen by the Lord before he was born to be the one to take His message to His people. The Lord told him that he should never get married and have children because he would never want to see a wife or children go through what Judah was facing. Jeremiah was despised, beaten, imprisoned, thrown into a dungeon to die, mocked and ridiculed. But when his Creator and Redeemer spoke to him he must have felt like the most blessed man on earth.

2) God said, “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you” (vs. 2).
The Lord told Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house where he would reveal a message to him. There is no doubt that Jeremiah went immediately, and that he anticipated a message from the Lord. As he walked down to the potter’s house, he must have experienced a wide range of emotions as he anticipated his meeting with the Lord. He knew Him to be a God of love, a God of holiness, a God of power and sovereignty. Francis Shaeffer, in his first three books made an effort to communicate two basic thoughts. First, He is there, and second, He is not silent. God exists and he communicates with human beings, the only creation created in His image.

3) Jeremiah writes, “So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.” I like to watch an artisan work with his hands. I love woodwork, so naturally I love to watch someone who can do things with wood that I cannot do. I have always enjoyed watching a welder, and electrician, or an artist. I have had the privilege of watching a potter work, but one of the greatest blessings of my life has been the privilege of watching Dr. Sam Gore work with clay. On numerous occasions, I have seen him take a bucket of clay and mold it into something spectacular. I have his HEAD OF CHRIST on the piano at home at this very moment. I have an oil painting by Sam Gore over my desk as I work. I have seen Sam mold Mary and the baby Jesus, and I have seen him mold his special tribute to creation. I know Jeremiah must have stood in awe as he watched a skilled and gifted potter at his wheel.

4) As Jeremiah watched, “... the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do” (18:4). This was a simple thing the potter had often done. If he was not pleased with his work, he simply reworked the clay and started over. Many years ago, when I was a seminary student, I stopped by Mississippi College, and as I often did, I went to the Art Department to see Sam Gore. He was busy, so I stood watching a student working on a painting. It was beautiful. I was amazed at the scene she was painting, thinking that this was one gifted young lady. Then, Dr. Gore walked up, looked at it, and picked up a brush and marked a big X right across the middle of it! I had to tell him that I thought the painting was looking great until he messed it up! But, you see, Sam didn’t look at the painting as I was looking at it. He knew what he was looking for and I had been impressed with the Elvis on black velvet I had seen at an intersection as I drove in to Memphis on highway 61.

Jeremiah may not have seen the flaw, but the potter knew the jar had become flawed as he worked. What does a potter do when a jar or vase becomes flawed? He destroys the jar as he begins to knead the clay to prepare to begin a new jar.

B. The Lord Had Another Word for Jeremiah, 18:5-12.

“The word of the Lord came to me: “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter [treats his clay] ?”—[this is] the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy [it]. However, if that nation I have made an announcement about, turns from its evil, I will not bring the disaster on it I had planned. At [another] time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom. However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will not bring the good I had said I would do to it. So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds. But they will say: It’s hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart” (18:5-12).

1) The Lord asks, “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay ?” (Vs 5). Can you think of a better object lesson to stress the sovereignty of Almighty God?!! When Jesus used a parable in teaching, there were times when His disciples asked Him to tell them what it meant. For example, He gave them a detailed explanation of the Parable of the Sower. Here at the potter’s house, the Lord makes the statement that He has the sovereign right to do with His creation what the potter has done with his jar. He does not leave it to Jeremiah’s imagination or speculation: “This is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel” (vs. 6). Right now, whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you desire ir or not, you are clay in the Master Potter’s hand. He can and will do with you as He pleases.

The very first word for our Creator in the very first verse of the Bible, the word “God”, carries the idea of power. He had the power to create all things, just as He reveals in Genesis. I spent a number of year trying to be objective, looking at all sides and then forming an opinion. Then one day, I realized that it is not the “thus reasoneth the mind of Johnny Sanders” that counts; it is the “Thus saith the Word of God.” Shaeffer said that the most meaningless word in the English language is the word God spelled with a small “g”. I want you to know, I spell my God with a capital “G.” That is why I have no doubts about the Genesis account of creation. Some day all those scientists who insist that evolution is science and creation is religion are going to discover that they are clay in the hands of the Potter. He will do with them as He pleases, and they will have no more say than a lump of clay. Neither evolution nor creation can be proved scientifically. We must examine the evidence to see whether it supports special creation or evolution. The creation theory has remained the same throughout the ages. Evolution is constantly - shall we say, evolving?

The second word for God is the word Adonai, which is translated “Lord” - capital “L”, and lower case “ord.” When you see the word LORD, spelled with all capital letters, you know it is the covenant name for God, “Yahweh.” The point the Lord makes as Jeremiah watches the potter is that He is sovereign. He has the right to govern all He created. He has the right to do as He pleases with His creation. He is sovereign. He can do anything that does not violate His character and nature.

2) He had the sovereign right to do anything He chose to do with Judah. He said, “At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy [it]. However, if that nation I have made an announcement about, turns from its evil, I will not bring the disaster on it I had planned” (vv. 7-8). He had the sovereign right to destroy a rebellious nation, or to spare it if that nation, meaning Judah, turns from evil.

Up until this time, they had arrogantly declared, “We will not obey.” So, it comes down to this. The love of God makes Him a long-suffering God, holding out his salvation and blessings to the sinful people if they will repent. The holiness of God demands punishment for the unrepentant. He cannot tolerate sin, He cannot overlook it, He cannot close His eyes to sin and rebellion without violating His holiness.

God states His message so clearly that no believer should ever miss it. The only problem was that these people, as religious as they were, did not truly believe God. They had a belief in the existence of God, they believed certain facts about Him, they knew His name, they participated religious ceremonies, but they did not believe God.

The Fox News Network is following the first Mardi Gras after Hurricane Katrina, and while we are praying for spiritual victories, for the churches, for New Orleans Seminary, and for the salvation of individuals, the media revels in the sins that made New Orleans popular. When a mature Christian watches the reports from New Orleans on fat Tuesday (2-28-06), he or she see people who glory in the sins of the flesh. People joke about what one must do to get arrested in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, especially during the main parade on Tuesday. The scenes from public streets make one wonder if we are not looking at a modern day Sodom of Gomorrah.

Pat Robertson was soundly condemned after he wondered aloud on his television network if God might have been using Katrina to judge America. I don’t know that He was, but I do know that He has the sovereign right to do anything he pleases. If, however, He was judging New Orleans, a lot of people who claim to believe in God, clearly do not believe God. By the way, in any disaster, it if far more profitable to focus on the opportunities that disaster offers than in trying to place blame. Leave that to the Lord, He is the One who is sovereign.

3) There was a message from the Lord to the people of Judah (vv. 11-12). “So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you.” They could not have received a greater warning. God took no delight in the coming judgment, but while the love of God held our hope, the holiness of God demanded judgment.

He said, “Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.” He still appeals to the people to repent - turn from evil and turn to Him. Evil people do not often think of themselves as evil people. This is how God saw them. Today, if asked to point out some evil people, we might point out the brutal murder of small children by pedophiles, or a Scot Pederson who murdered his wife and unborn child. There is also the story of whatever happened to a teenaged girl on the island of Aruba, and the revelation of police blunders that may have covered up evidence necessary for any resolution in this case. Without the persistence of the parents of Natallie Holloway, the world would have forgotten the case by now.

The people of Judah thought of themselves as moral people. Sadly, America is filled with people who think of themselves as “good” people whose lives are filled with evil. What has happened to the institution of marriage in America can only be classified as evil. Immorality, drunkenness, drug addiction, pornography, homosexuality, abortion, and a whole host of other things are practiced today in America by people who only see terrorists or racists as evil.

4) The Lord knew these people would not repent. He said, “But they will say ‘It’s hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart” (vs. 12). How could those people have been so hard, so foolish, so rebellious? Perhaps we should ask, why America refuses to repent. We live in a nation that was founded on Christian principles, but today the ACLU can go to court and have the Boy Scouts thrown off public land, and then send the city a bill for one million dollars for legal fees. The Boy Scouts do not want homosexual scout leaders and they acknowledge God. Ant the ACLU finds sees that as evil! We live in a nation that smiles at the sins associated with Mardi Gras. We live in a time when many church members cannot be distinguished from lost people. There may be a reason for that, and in case that reason escapes anyone, let me stress that I am convinced that a lot of church members have never been born again.

C. These People Should Have Listened to the Lord.

1) They knew their history. They knew about the Fall. What God said, God accomplished. They knew about the Flood. What God promised, God fulfilled. They knew about the time God told Moses He might consider destroying the entire nation and starting over with him. They knew the history of the Period of the Judges. They knew the story of how God had given Israel a king when they demanded one. When Saul disobeyed God, the Lord rejected Saul and started over with David.

2) These people knew what had happened with the Northern Kingdom. God had sent Amos and Hosea to warn the people that if they didn’t repent He was going to destroy that nation. They refused to repent and the Lord did exactly what He said He would do. He raised up the Assyrian Empire and used them to destroy the Northern Ten Tribes in 722 B.C. The Lord had sent Isaiah and Micah to warn Judah that if they did not repent He would use Assyria to judge them. If they still refused to repent, He would raise up the Babylonians to defeat them and take the people into captivity for seventy years. He would then bring a remnant back and start over with them. They are clay in His hands. He can do anything He wants to do with them.

D. The Lord Gives His Children a Choice Today.

Lost people are commanded to repent. They do not choose God, He chooses them, but they must believe in Him, they must believe Him. We are saved by His grace, through faith He provides. This faith only comes from God Himself. You cannot generate it on your own. The faith that saves is a commitment of yourself for all eternity to God through Jesus Christ.

Now, I want to speak to those of you who have already committed your hearts to the Lord. You will either live out your life in the Land of Promise, or you will live in the wilderness of doubt, fear, and sin. That may seem too far removed to consider it at first, but let me remind you that all those people who were in the wilderness had been delivered from bondage and death in Egypt. They had been delivered from bondage so that the Lord might lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey. Instead, they refused to follow Him and as a result of their rebellion they wandered in the wilderness until all those twenty years and older were dead, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, who believed the Lord. Then, the Lord had Joshua to lead the younger generation into the Promised Land.

God wants all believers to walk with Him in the Spirit. Many Christians spend their life in the flesh, wondering in the wilderness of the world. They are barren and fruitless. Wilderness Christians are the ones who stir up most of the trouble in the Lord’s church. They gripe and complain the entire journey of life. Instead of being refreshed by milk and honey, they subsist on manna, food for the wilderness. They want their way, they crave attention, if not from the entire church, from their own little group or clique within the church. They may compromise morally and spiritually and then they are quick to add, “But what I did is no worse than what Bill Jones and Sally Adams did.” They don’t confess, they don’t repent, they condemn, criticize, and demand their way. On the other hand, they may be strict moralists who abstain from all the bad things, but still never produce the fruit of the spirit.

If you are in that condition, God commands you to repent and return to Him. He will bless you. He wants to bless you. Let me remind you that Jeremiah was not rewarded with wealth, family, and an easy life for his faithfulness. But, he heard God speak! What greater blessing can you imagine today. If you repent and turn from evil and walk with the Lord, you will hear God speak! No, I am not encouraging you listen for an audible voice. What I am promising is that if you will humbly and prayerfully open the Word of God and spend some time in it, God will speak to you. Not just a prophet like Jeremiah, or a pastor of missionary, God will speak to you.


A. The Lord Gives His People Another Sign, 19:1-5.

1) The Lord tells Jeremiah to buy a clay jug, and use it to illustrate what is about to happen. Who has not heard the old adage, “I had rather see a sermon than hear one”? To this day, I remember when my father in the ministry, M. C. Waldrup, stood before our mission church with three vials. The first one contained a clear liquid; the second one, a black liquid; and the third, a red liquid. He poured a few drops of the black liquid into the clear vial and it turned it black. He pointed out that this illustrates what sin does to us. Then, he poured a little of the red substance into that vial and it immediately became clear again. He then told us that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin. I don’t remember anything else he said that day, but I remember the illustration. Why did God tell Jeremiah to demonstrate His message to Judah. So they would remember it. Now, let’s see what the Lord told Jeremiah to do:

“ This is what the Lord says: “Go, buy a potter’s clay jug. Take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests and go out to the Valley of Hinnom near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Proclaim there the words I speak to you” (19:1-2).

2) Next, He tells Jeremiah what to say. He is to announce a coming disaster:

“Say: Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will shudder...” (Vs. 3).

3) The Lord His reason for the coming disaster. They should now remember that earlier prophecy about the boiling pot tilted from the north toward Judah, judgment that is about to spill out upon them from Babylon. Here are the reasons for the coming disaster:

1. “...Because they have abandoned Me and made this a foreign place.”

2. “They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their fathers, and the kings of Judah have never known.”

3. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

4. They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought” (19:4-5).

B. He Now Amplifies the Coming Disaster, 19:6-9.

God’s “therefore” sounds the alarm. His prophetic therefores hold before them the actions of the past and then focuses on the consequences they will face in te future. Never overlook God’s prophetic therefores! Please pay close attention to the words that tie the sins of Judah to the consequences that will follow. Those two words? “I will.” When the Lord repeats Himself you have better “Take note!” Listen to His message and pay close attention to God’s “I wills”.

“Therefore, take note! The days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“when this place will no longer be called Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. I will spoil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hand of those who want to take their life. I will provide their corpses as food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land. I will make this city desolate, an object of scorn. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and scoff because of all its wounds. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and they will eat each other’s flesh in the siege and distress that their enemies, those who want to take their life, inflict on them” (19:9).

We live in a day when we want anyone who would kill an animal to pay a high price for it, but protest when a convicted murderer is sentenced to death. A man in California commits a brutal murder of a young girl twenty or twenty-five years ago, after he and his male lover commit horrible acts against her. The man hit her in the head with a hammer 23 ties. Her head was crushed. They committed disgusting acts against the dead body before repeatedly running over it with an automobile. Liberal courts have kept this vicious murder alive for a quarter of a century, and now they have decided that execution by lethal injection might cause him some pain. So, they ordered that the man be put to sleep before the fatal injection is administered. Now, no anesthesiologist in the area will administer the anesthesia required to put him to sleep. Daily, the mother of that girl grieves for her daughter, but all the liberal courts and the demonstrators can think of is that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment.

Go back to the Book of Exodus and read about the crimes that demanded a death penalty in ancient Israel. Did God demand the death penalty for these crimes because He had no compassion? No, He demanded it to protect society from vicious animals who murder, kidnap, rape, and destroy innocent man, women, and children. When you reach the point that you feel that you are more compassionate than God we are in trouble. Make no mistake about it, that which was about to happen to Judah and Jerusalem is the judgment of God. God raised up great empires and moved kings and generals as one moves pieces on a chessboard. He is not only the great I AM, He is the great I AM who says, “I will, I will, I will!”

C. Next, God Tells Jeremiah to Break the Jug Explain the Reason He Is Doing It, 19:10-15.

1) He told Jeremiah to shatter the jug. Shatter the jug?

“Then you are to shatter the jug in the presence of the people traveling with you, and you are to proclaim to them: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: I will shatter these people and this city, like one shatters a potter’s jar that can never again be mended. They will bury in Topheth until there is no place left to bury. I will do so to this place”—[this is] the declaration of the Lord—“and to its residents, making this city like Topheth. The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become impure like that place Topheth—all the houses on whose rooftops they have burned incense to the whole heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods.

“Jeremiah came back from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, stood in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple, and proclaimed to all the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring on this city—and on all its [dependent] villages—all the disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying My words’ ” (Jer 19:1-15).

In chapter 18, the potter simply kneaded the clay into a fresh ball and began working on a new vase with the same clay. Why did the Lord not tell Jeremiah to simply squash the clay into a fresh ball of clay and make a new jug? It was too late! This jug had been competed and fired in a furnace. It could never be remade. It is too late to start over now. The potter was working with wet clay. His pot had never been fired. Judah had been given every opportunity to repent and be spared. They had persistently refused, arrogantly proclaiming that they would not obey t he Lord. They rewarded prophets who said what they wanted to hear, and persecuted Jeremiah for delivering the word of God.

Do not think that modern day Americans have somehow evolved way beyond those ancient Israelites. Human nature has not changed. We are guilty of the same sins. The most popular preachers on television do not preach against drinking alcoholic beverages, warn young people of the temptations into which they enter when they go to social dances, or caution members of the dangers of - shall we say, social gambling. Popular preachers says they just want people to feel good, so they do not deal with sin and judgment. This is a message that resonates with the me generation who want to feel good about themselves. Someone in a recent movie announced to his wife, “When I do something nice for you it makes me feel good about myself.” What a self-centered attitude! He does something for his wife so he can feel good about himself? That is like saying, “I help my neighbor because I may need him some day.” Why not help your neighbor because he is your neighbor?

This goes beyond pastors. Who pushes bingo, raffles, and cake walks at the highschool Halloween carnivals? Teachers and administrators, many of who are also teaching our children and young people in Sunday School. I even had a pastor to ask me not to mention gambling when I preached a revival in his church. It seems that some of his members worked in a casino!

The news networks and local papers followed all the Mardi Gras events leading up to Mardi Gras on February 28, 2006, like I have never witnessed before. I know they were trying to tell us that Mardi Gras was a barometer for recovery in New Orleans after Katrina wasted the city. What kept coming through on Fox News Network was the glorification of drinking, partying, indecent dress and language. Everything rude, lewd, and crude is glorified at Mardi Gras. The young female anchor jokes with the onsite reporter about the immodest dress, bordering on complete nudity. The reporter informs viewers that police in New Orleans will arrest people only for really serious violations. The young anchor tells “Rick” to get back on the street and join the activities. Let me say, that I am not speaking from a vacuum. I have been to Mardi Gras. Years ago, I was there for some of the early parades and thought the main event would be more of the same. I was in for a surprise! I also drove back down town late at night after all the streets were clear of people - but not clear of beer cans that filled the streets from the curb to about one-third of the way to the higher center of the street from each side. Many church members who sit in the pew on Sunday were sinning in the streets on Tuesday. But that’s all right. There is always Ash Wednesday! And as one lady said, “Now I’ll be ready for Easter.”

2) Disaster is coming, Jeremiah writes. He had God’s word on it.

“This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring on this city—and on all its dependent villages—all the disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying My words.”

Why would God take such drastic action? Let me review His reasons (vv. 4-5):

1. “...Because they have abandoned Me and made this a foreign place.”

2. “They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their fathers, and the kings of Judah have never known.”

3. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

4. They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought” (19:4-5).

I will admit, America is not Israel, and we are not the nation of the Messianic Covenant. At the same time, I believe we own both our existence and our survival to Almighty God. We are not here by accident. Historical revisionists may protest all they want to, but we have the word of the Founding Fathers on it. America was founded on Christian principles, in part because so many of the early immigrants came to America seeing freedom to worship and serve as they believed the Bible taught them. The discovery of America, the early development of this nation, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights set the stage for a new nation that would be open to the spread of the Gospel, to missions at home and abroad, and to theological education. In time, America became the center for the spread of the Gospel. No other nations has ever sent out so many missionaries, both across America and around the world. Do you think God is going to give up this nation to secularists, humanists, atheists, and apostates without any effort to bring us back to the cross? Or, do you think we can rebel against Him continually and never reach the point that God will judge this nation?


The Lord charged ancient Judah with two sins. First, they rejected God, the fountain of living water. Second, they hewed for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that cold hold no water. They rejected the true God and turned to false gods. Would America ever do anything like that? Unlike ancient Israel, we have great numbers of born again Christians, many of whom really take the Lord seriously. Yet, with millions of professing Christians, we are moving deeper and deeper into the post-Christian era of our history.

Religious Judah boasted of the temple of the Lord, but worshiped Baal. Many professing Christians are quick to claim membership in a local church or identify with a denomination, but the Jesus they claim to worship is obviously not the Jesus of the New Testament. The Christ of the “New Spirituality”, formerly New Age or Postmodern religious views, is totally alien to the Christ of the Cross. Many Americans who would never bow before idol are nevertheless guilty of the false worship of the true God. How can one who claims a personal relationship with Jesus Christ reject the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, or the Resurrection? How can people who profess a genuine relationship with the Lord, live their entire lives in the wilderness, ever searching for the borderline. They want a security blanket, or an insurance policy, but they do not want to obey the Word of God.

This country is full of professing Christians who love those happy, sappy TV preachers who take no strong stand against sin and never preach repentance. They “just want people to feel good.” One young man openly challenged his denomination for emphasizing church growth when we should be “engaging the culture.” I agreed with a friend who said, “We do not need to engage the culture, we need to confront the culture.”

There are professing Christians who will not take a stand on drinking, recreational drug use, dancing, Sunday recreation, or questionable entertainment. One mother joked about a fellow church member who did not approve of it when she permitted her son’s Sunday School class to come to her house and spend a significant amount of time necking. How many deacons and Sunday School teachers would you think have beer in the refrigerator at home right now! How many Christians mothers are there who let their daughters dress immodestly because they want them to be sexy?

There are churches all over this country where Jeremiah would not last three months! Neither would I! I take no pleasure in confronting members with their sins, but I know why the Lord called me to preach the Gospel - the whole Gospel.

There is one major difference between modern America and ancient Judah. While we have the same sins, there are many faithful believers in America, people who love the Lord, people who love His Word, people who yield to His Spirit. These people are victorious in their daily life. There is genuine joy in their hearts.

A little earlier, when I mentioned the potter working with the clay, I told you about a very gifted sculptor and artist, Dr. Sam Gore. Sam has won more honors than you can imagine, but few people have ever seen them. He was National Art Educator of the Year in America one year. His work is on display in places many artists would be honored to be able to visit. On my desk, there is a picture of Sam sculpting the Head of Christ with the crown of thorns. I have seen him do this in worship services a number of times. I have seen him to the Mother and Child at Christmas, and his Creation sculpture. As Sam works the clay, we listened to his daughter Judy, a highly acclaimed pediatrician, sing some of the great hymns of the faith as lights change. It is an awesome experience.

I distinctly remember how Sam introduced one service. He announced that Judy would be singing on tape as he worked with the clay. He added, “I think of this as my song to the Lord.” What is your song to the Lord? You may not be able to sing or produce a great work of art, but if you walk with the Lord He will grant you the blessing of fellowship with Him and give you opportunities to serve worship and serve Him in a way that will amount to your song to the Lord. What have you done lately just for Him? Why not make a commitment to do that right now?

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