By Mary Baird
God makes a sobering statement to Jeremiah in the opening verses of chapter 18. Israel had forsaken the Lord with idolatry and sinful living, and so it was time for God to correct them. He begins by having Jeremiah watch a potter at work. The potter began to fashion a vessel but at some point there was a flaw so the potter destroyed the vessel and began again. Then God tells Jeremiah just as the potter has the power to make or unmake a vessel of clay, God has power over the nations He created.
Next God informs Jeremiah how he deals with all the nations. We need to understand that God is not fickle like man by constantly changing His mind. We are told there is no ‘shadow of turning with God’. So His statement to Jeremiah is put into words men can understand.
As you read Jeremiah 18:7-10, the key to a nation’s continuation is how they respond to what God has called evil and good. This applies to all nations. Notice that at one moment a nation can be on the brink of destruction, but if they turn back to God, God will preserve them. Or, God may make a nation great but if they turn from Him, he will destroy that nation.
Every time I read this section, I cannot help but think about America. Anyone who reads and studies the early years of our country and its founding realizes we were a miracle. The winning of our independence from Great Britain was a total work of the Lord God. No one claims our founding fathers were perfect and we had a lot of work to do, but you cannot go to Washington DC, look at the carvings on marble, read the documents of that time, and not know we were founded on the precepts of Scripture. God intended America for His purpose and as long as we continue to acknowledge the Sovereign God, we will persevere. But we need to understand that any moment God can also bring us down.
I believe we stand at that precipice. We have thumbed our nose at God and are calling good evil and evil good. The worry I have is found in Jeremiah 18:12. The people of Jerusalem stiffened their necks when told they needed to reform and said, “It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.” Because they did not repent, God brought destruction to that great city.
That attitude of pride sounds hauntingly familiar of people today. Oh that we would turn back to God and He would relent from our destruction!