Read carefully the following passage from Jeremiah 18:1-11:
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’
The false prophets continue to deceive the church as they proclaim their “feel good” predictions. God is preparing protection for America and He will “gift” her with great blessings and prosperity and most of all “protection” from her enemies who seek to destroy her. America has nothing to worry about because of course, America maintains her “favored nation” status in the throne room of Heaven.
I realize that sometimes I sound like the neighborhood curmudgeon in my efforts to warn the church and the nation of impending judgment. I do not, nor have I ever presented myself in the office of Prophet. I really don’t believe we require a prophet to see that there are dark days ahead for the nation and much of what tries to pass itself off as the church in America. I know, I know; the acceptable preaching of the day is light and encouraging, uplifting and filled with promises of a sweet smelling life filled with roses without thorns, blessings without number, ease and prosperity - our best days are ahead.
Nope, I am not a prophet but I do study the scriptures diligently. I believe in and trust in a God Who is not only filled with love, Who is, in fact, the embodiment of love; but Who is a God of justice and wrath. I believe in a God who in His great love will execute His divine wrath and judgment upon the very objects of that love.
The potter sits before the wheel as it spins, diligently shaping the clay in his hands to create a beautiful and useful vessel. He shapes, smooths, skillfully working the clay according to the vision he has for it. After a while, he lifts his foot from the pedal and as the wheel slowly stops spinning he gazes at the clay vessel before him, examining it from every angle. After a while, he sighs, takes the clay in his hands, and raising it above his head he smashes it down onto the wheel, literally destroying the work of his own hands. His foot once again rests upon the pedal and the wheel begins slowly to spin once again. Taking the broken and ruined piece of clay in his loving hands, he tenderly begins to reshape it into something useable.
I believe this image can properly be applied to a human life, to a church (a collection of human lives), or to an entire nation. In the context in which Jeremiah wrote, God was speaking to a nation. As Jeremiah stood in the doorway of the potter’s house watching him work, God spoke to him about the condition of Israel, His beloved people. However, the principle does not have to be applied to only Israel. In speaking to Jeremiah God says,
“If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom……” The language here leads me to believe that though God is declaring what is going to happen to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, He gives a solemn warning to ANY nation at ANY time. “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.”
The force of this declaration is far more powerful when read in context of what follows: “And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.”
Within the confines of history, there has never been a nation that has risen to greater heights, enjoyed more blessings, more good, more prosperity, more opportunity, more security, and more power and influence among nations as has America. God raised up the nation and planted it. He put as a hedge around us so that no enemy has ever been successful in assaulting our shores. But now the nation that was planted by God not only does evil in God’s sight, but flaunts its evil, boasts of its evil, shakes its evil in God’s face and refuses to listen to the voice of God; is even willing to prosecute those who speak for God. We have become a nation that calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20) We are a nation who adores and celebrates those rebel against God and His order while eviscerating those who would stand for righteousness.
God has relented of the good that he has intended to do to us.
I read a prophecy from an allegedly well-known prophetess in which she recounted a vision of great battleships surrounding America with great gleaming canons pointing outward from our shores. In this prophetic word she declared that God is promising a great gift to America of protection from our enemies that would invade and destroy. God is placing a “hedge of steel” around our borders. Heartwarming and assuring; right? Except that. . . . . .
Our enemies are not outside. They are inside. America is not going to explode because of the bombs of our enemies. It is more probable that the nation will implode because of an explosion that is within. We are literally a tinderbox right now and one misplaced spark could ignite the nation into civil war. Indeed, it would appear that there are forces at work in our nation that seek to feed on our anger, racism, and greed in order to create chaos and strip us of every shred of sanity that is left. Abraham Lincoln once spoke prophetically, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” If America dies, it will surely be a case of suicide. Our people will be consumed by their own wickedness, hatred, and anger.
There is a way out. God, speaking through Jeremiah said, “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.”
The key to the healing of the land is not endlessly quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14. It is genuinely repenting of our evil and I am convinced that this begins in the household of God. In recent months I have been told over and over again that the key to fixing America is in doing my civic duty to vote. I should not give up on the political process. If I don’t vote for either the liar or the misogynist, I will somehow thwart God’s efforts at blessing the nation. Too late. I have already abandoned any hope in a just political outcome. I must be blunt here when I say I quite frankly don’t believe that it matters one whit which power hungry egotist gets into the White House; because here is what I see in my spirit:
The Potter has taken his foot from the pedal; the wheel is grinding to a halt. He is looking at this piece of clay that he has been shaping and forming for 240 years that now refuses to conform to His hand and soon, very soon, the Potter will according to His word, “pluck it up and break down and destroy it.”
Our preachers need to get off the campaign trail and back into the pulpit. Preachers need to begin to warn the nation of the impending wrath and judgment of God and call men to the confession of and repentance from sin. The church needs to fear man less and God more. The watchmen need to get out of their lives of ease and acceptance and get back on the wall, blowing the trumpet as loudly as possible.
God sent Jeremiah to a people whose hearts were hard and their ears dull. They would not heed the words of the prophet but God would not give them the excuse that they “didn’t know.” Perhaps the nation is too angry, too vile, too hardened in sin to listen - but the warning needs to come regardless. There are many voices being lifted in America today; angry, strident, vengeful voices. There seems to be one voice that is strangely quiet; the voice that cries for a return to righteousness.
Jeremiah 18:11 offers a chilling image as the prophet warns a rebellious and wicked people, “Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and deeds.”