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An Unpopular Assignment

April 11, 2019

Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you, and shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended.” Jeremiah 19:10-11

What if God said to you, “I will tell you precisely what will happen to America in the next five years.”? Imagine being God’s chosen spokesperson to the nation! The problem was in the message. The words that God gave to Jeremiah were extremely unpopular.

God told Jeremiah to invite the elders of the people to the valley of Ben Hinnom, a garbage dump outside the city. According to Jewish tradition, the mouth of hell was located there. It wasn’t a great place for a guided tour or for a sermon.

Jeremiah was a little cautious. “You want me to take the community leaders to a landfill site, and tell them that our capital city is going to be destroyed?”

“Yes,” says the Lord, “and while you are preaching, I want you to take the clay jar and smash it.” That must have been a fairly dramatic visual aid. Jeremiah must have wished that God would speak through somebody else. But he did what God said.

Then Jeremiah returned to the temple and announced to the people: “Behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their neck, refusing to hear my words” (19:15).

Well, it wasn’t long before this got back to the temple authorities. People come to the temple for a word of encouragement, and if they’re made to feel uncomfortable, they might not come back. So Jeremiah was arrested, beaten, and then put in stocks.

Has God ever given you something unpopular to do and you suffered because of it?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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