As we saw yesterday, the nation had fallen into deep apostasy. The people weren’t getting the message. God then used Jeremiah to do a powerful symbolic act that, ideally, would help wake them up to the danger they were facing.
Read Jeremiah 19:1–15. What was Jeremiah to do, and what was the meaning of this act?
Jeremiah had to go to the potter’s house again. This time, though, the Lord wanted to make sure that he brought witnesses with him to see exactly what he was going to do. The witnesses were the elders and priests from Judah (Jer. 19:1). As leaders, they were responsible for what happened in the nation, and so they needed to get the message that Jeremiah was to give to them through the power of his symbolic act. The Potsherd Gate (Jer. 19:2, NKJV), where he was to smash the jar, might have been near where the potters worked, and just outside the gate might have been where they would dump their shards of ruined pots. Thus, the symbolism became even more powerful.
What good is a smashed clay jar? If the jar were cracked, some use might be found for it, even if not for the original intent of the jar. But Jeremiah wasn’t merely to crack it. Instead, he was to break it, essentially rendering it useless. Between the act itself and the words that followed, it’s hard to imagine how the people could not have understood the warning. Of course, understanding the warning and acting on it are two different things entirely.
What’s even more frightening is the apparent finality of the act. Who can repair a smashed jar? Though the Lord gave the nation a hope for the future, yet for the moment, unless they were to turn around, the Judeans were doomed, they and their children. All the places that they had defiled with their abominations and sinful acts would soon be defiled with their corpses. Perhaps, the depths of their depravity can be best understood by the depths of the punishment that their depravity brought upon their heads.
Think of something ruined—ruined beyond repair. What was it originally made for, and what happened to it that now rendered it useless? How careful we need to be that this doesn’t happen to us!
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q4 2015 «Jeremiah» Lesson 6 – Symbolic Acts