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An Object Lesson from the Making of Pottery

18:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah:1 18:2 “Go down at once2 to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.”3 18:3 So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working4 at his wheel.5 18:4 Now and then6 there would be something wrong7 with the pot he was molding from the clay8 with his hands. So he would rework9 the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit.10

18:5 Then the Lord said to me,11 18:6 “I, the Lord, say:12 ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay?13 In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ 18:7 There are times, Jeremiah,14 when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom.15 18:8 But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong,16 I will cancel the destruction17 I intended to do to it. 18:9 And there are times when I promise to build up and establish18 a nation or kingdom. 18:10 But if that nation does what displeases me and does not obey me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it. 18:11 So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem19 this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you.20 So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing.21 Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’22 18:12 But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what you say!23 We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’ ”24

18:13 Therefore, the Lord says,

“Ask the people of other nations

whether they have heard of anything like this.

Israel should have been like a virgin.

But she has done something utterly revolting!

18:14 Does the snow ever completely vanish from the rocky slopes of Lebanon?

Do the cool waters from those distant mountains ever cease to flow?25

18:15 Yet my people have forgotten me

and offered sacrifices to worthless idols!

This makes them stumble along in the way they live

and leave the old reliable path of their fathers.26

They have left them to walk in bypaths,

in roads that are not smooth and level.27

18:16 So their land will become an object of horror.28

People will forever hiss out their scorn over it.

All who pass that way will be filled with horror

and will shake their heads in derision.29

18:17 I will scatter them before their enemies

like dust blowing in front of a burning east wind.

I will turn my back on them and not look favorably on them30

when disaster strikes them.”


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