Thursday, January 17, 2013

the sermon at the town dump

You shall say, 'Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.'
Jeremiah 19:3

The town dump seems to be a strange place to preach a sermon, but that is exactly where God directed Jeremiah to give this message. The location of the prophecy is part of the message itself. God was going to "dispose" of a sinful generation that was no longer of use to Him. In some of the more difficult pronouncements God states that during Jerusalem's fall the fortunate ones will be buried in the dump. Other bodies would be eaten by wild animals and even the inhabitants of Jerusalem would resort to cannibalism during the siege. This is certainly not the "feel good message" of the month. No publishing house was signing Jeremiah up for a book tour on this one! A dark and pain-filled reality would soon shake Judah.

Why was this sort of future looming over them? They had forsaken God, worshiped idols (Jeremiah 19:4), killed their own infant children in child sacrifice to idols (Jeremiah 19:5), and gone on to build an entire culture of idolatry for generations (Jeremiah 19:5). Their choice to abandon God was now the cultural norm and this would have sudden and severe consequences.

Jeremiah had one last object lesson to drive the point home. He stood in the part of the dump where broken pottery was heaped. He took a new vessel freshly purchased at the potter's shop and smashed it down to shatter among the useless scattered shards of countless broken items. This was ultimately what God would do with Judah. The would be as useless to Him as a broken pot. And their idolatrous world would smash and scatter, never to be known again. The finality of that image sticks with me right now. It is testament to God's work and a warning of the finality of God's judgment and the futility of rejecting God.

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