Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Tina Hsu. Tina, a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), currently serves as a staff at the Church of Southland, Anaheim, California.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Broken Beyond Repair”
Thus says the Lord, “Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests. Then go out to the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle.
When I was a little girl, I checked out some of my mom’s expensive glassware that she had stored in a cabinet. I thought I was careful with handling glass, but I still managed to shatter one glass right in front her eyes. I had broken a lot things as a curious young girl, but this one I knew was beyond repair and no longer usable. Its shattered pieces could only be swept and thrown away. In this morning’s passage, the prophet is told to purchase a clay jar, only to break it in front of Judah’s leaders (19:10) at the valley of Ben-hinnom, as a symbolic message to the nation of the Lord’s impending judgment, for they had remained stubborn and unrepentant after many warnings. Proverbs 29:1 says, “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy.” In speaking of Judah’s soon-to-happen exile to Babylon, Jeremiah’s prophetic act conveys that it will be a calamity in that God’s people will be “broken,” as one breaks the potter’s clay jar and throws it into the dump.
By standing at the valley of Ben-hinnom, a location that had at that time become the “dump area” of the city, Jeremiah brings the jar there to illustrate that Judah’s exile is likened to a dishonorable vessel that the Lord is removing in His justice and righteousness. Even though this message will cause people’s ears to shudder, it provides the chance for people to hear the call to repent and to become the people who would persevere through the exile in order to rebuild Jerusalem later. The news of calamity serves the higher purpose of pointing to God as Israel’s hope. Their brokenness is beyond repair from the earthly perspective, but God can indeed restore the brokenness of Judah, as the prophet Amos declares, “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter—I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins—and will rebuild it as it used to be” (Amos 9:11).
Have you lost hope in an area of your life, or do you consider anything as “beyond repair?” Allow the Holy Spirit to encourage you with hope this morning that He can indeed provide restoration and newness in the area that seems beyond repair.
Prayer: Dear Father, You are righteous and just. I confess that in the ways that I have dishonored You, I taste the consequences of my sinful ways. Yet, thank You that I can fully hope in You to restore me and redeem me. Make me to be like a jar of clay that allows Your glory and power to transform me and to dwell inside of me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 48
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Timothy 3:19-21: Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
Questions to Consider
- In writing to Timothy, what is the apostle Paul’s purpose in this message?
- What is the importance of the statement, or seal, “The Lord knows those who are His?”
- How have you considered becoming “a vessel of honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work?”
- The background noise to Timothy’s ministry is that there were numerous false teachers who have indulged themselves in quarrels over words (2:14), godless chatter (2:16), and whose false teachings (i.e. the denial of resurrection) have spread fast and actually destroyed the faith of some people (2:18). These teachers’ works are dishonoring to God and unfortunately have “spread like gangrene” (2:17). Therefore, Paul instructs Timothy to “present yourself to God as one approved” (2:15) and to consider the type of vessel he ought to become so that his work is honoring to God.
- In the time period and place that Timothy is ministering, there were influential false teachers among teachers who correctly handle the word of truth. Though the influence of false teachers seemed out of control and many of them claimed to be teachers of the Law and appeared to have authority and influence, Paul affirms that “the Lord knows those who are His” and only the teachings that stand upon the firm foundation of God will stand.
- Personal Response.
Psalm 130:7-8: Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.