The Scriptorium

The Broken Flask

Show and tell again. Jeremiah 19.1-15

The Potter and the Vessel: Jeremiah 18-21 (3)

Pray Psalm 2.7-10.
“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

Sing Psalm 2.7-10.

(Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High )
Proclaim the message far and wide, that God has exalted the Crucified!
From heav’n He sent us His only Son, Who has for us salvation won.

To Christ the Lord be given all Who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes to break the prideful, sinful ones.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 19.1-15.

1. What did the potter’s earthen flask represent?

2. Before whom did Jeremiah break this flask and preach?

The message of the broken vessel was good enough for Jeremiah; it was also good enough for the kings of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. By employing dramatic gesture and uncompromising proclamation, God was doing everything He could to impress His people with the need to repent.

Jeremiah led the people into the very valley where Baal was worshiped and children had been offered to false gods. There he smashed the potter’s vessel and declared the judgment of God against His people (vv. 4-13). The coming judgment of God would be terrible, including slaughter, cannibalism, and the defilement of the dead. But this is what the people had chosen. God had been warning them through Jeremiah and other prophets that He must be faithful to His Word, even though they were not. And now His faithfulness required that He give them the choice they had made, and bring them to destruction before those who worshiped false gods.

From the valley of Tophet Jeremiah went to the court of the temple and proclaimed the Lord’s judgment against Jerusalem and all the surrounding towns. God’s stiff-necked people would finally receive the long-threatened judgment of God, and it would not be pretty.

God’s Word – like His covenant – is a two-edged sword. It cuts open the blessings of God for all who obey Him; and it cuts down the pride and rebelliousness of those who oppose His Word. Let us only ever be found on the victorious end of that unyielding and unfailing Word.

1. When God’s judgment falls, it is because people have chosen it. Explain.

2. God used both visual and vocal revelation to shock His people into repentance. Does He still do that? How?

3. What is repentance? When is repentance needed?

Let Christ be your King: let him rule you with that rod, not crush you with it. For that rod is “a rod of iron,” an inflexible rod. “You shall rule them with a rod of iron and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Some he rules; others he “breaks in pieces.” He “rules” those who are spiritual; he “breaks in pieces” those who are concerned about earthly desires. Augustine (354-430), Expositions on the Psalms 45.16

Use me today, Lord, as a vessel of grace so that I…

Pray Psalm 2.9-12.

Commit yourself to love and serve Jesus throughout this day, whatever He commands, wherever He sends you, whatever He requires of you.

Sing Psalm 2.9-12.
Psalm 2.9-12 (Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High)
To Christ the Lord be given all Who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes to break the prideful, sinful ones.

Rejoice with fear in Jesus’ grace, and worship before His exalted face!
Beware His anger and judgment grim: How blessed are all who rest in Him!

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen, each Lord’s Day, to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study, which is presently working through the book of Jeremiah. Click here for last week’s summary of Jeremiah 16 and 17.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore