And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.” Then the Lord said to me:
“Out of the north calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord; “They shall come and each one set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah. I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. “Therefore, prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”
This first vision God gave to Jeremiah is not a political analysis, but a poetic promise of judgment. This boiling pot is about to pour over and consume Judah because of its evil. Evil attracts evil. Their sin was one of idolatry, breaking the first commandment to love only the Lord God with all their being. The judgment was upon the kings, princes, priests, and people; nobody would escape.
Jeremiah would soon find out that coming against such evil would result in a counter-attack against him, so much so, that he would feel discouraged. God warns Jeremiah not to bend in the face of adversity, ‘for behold, I have made you this day:
- a fortified city
- and an iron pillar,
- and bronze walls.’
They will fight against you but will not win; God will deliver Jeremiah.
As Christians, it is easy to pick one thing that we might be doing wrong as a nation but think back to the text. Judah wasn’t about to be judged; for one thing, they were being judged because they have given over their heart, soul, body, and mind to a false ideology, philosophy, and worshipped. Is your faith in God authentic, real, and transforming? Anything else is idolatry.