This morning’s worship was led by Andy Millership who preached from Jeremiah chapter 24.
God sends a vision to Jeremiah – a clear vision which is obvious what is going on. There are two baskets of figs, a basket of good figs and a basket of bad figs. The good figs represent those who were sent to Babylon. The bad ones were those who stayed at home. What is it that makes these baskets different from another?
The good figs are those who were sent into exile in Babylon. The hostages eventually turned back to God. They understood they had no strength in themselves, they understood the Covenant with God. God had set his heart upon His people. Just as clear as it is there was a movement towards God with the good figs, there was no change of heart in the bad figs. Zedekiah, the King, was only interested in promoting himself and living for the day. He and the people didn’t care about God and wanted nothing to do with them. They committed atrocities with in the name of false gods and prophets. Jeremiah was God’s man and had God’s Word.
Both baskets of figs were laid at the very gates of God. They were offerings. The good figs were the first fruits- the best of the harvest, only the very best for God. The people only gave their best for God. The bad figs gave no more than an afterthought to God, they kept the best for themselves and gave God the leftovers. Here we can see a clear similarity to Cain and Abel.
What basket are you? When God considers you, when He looks at you, what is it He sees? When you consider God, when you think about Him, what is it you think of? Do you think His demands of you are justified? Everything we have is already His. Do you obey Him and give Him the first fruits? Or is it once you have maximised your own pleasure, then perhaps you will nod in His direction; you will come on Sunday morning, but the rest of the week is yours? It takes a degree of uncomfortable honesty to answer that? If God is not getting enough from me, there is a question to be asked. What is it about God’s plans for you that could give you reason to abandon Him and jump into a basket of wrong figs?
Even when the people were in exile God provided for them. He would bring them home. He claims them as His own. When His Son was on the cross the earth groaned. He loves us just as much as He love His Son. He will bestow on us every blessing in the Heavenly realms. He will do this today all because of His great love for us. Our inheritance that can never fade away is there for those who obey and follow God himself. What precisely about the here and now that is worth abandoning this for. The love of God is poured out for us, it will never end. We will one day be like Him in glory.
For the bad figs there is no future, God’s love is free. The exiles were sent away for what they have done. They had done nothing to earn God’s favour. What can we do to earn God’s favour? Nothing. He will show us mercy and grace if only we would offer Him the first fruits. He asks that we should, love, honour and obey Him today. It is not something we have to wait for. When we are called, just come to Him. Take hold of the free gift of Salvation, then His promises will be for you today and all eternity. He will make every provision for your soul. He will open the glories of Heaven for you. Take a fresh look at yourself. But more to the point, reconsider Him. Do you want God’s love for you?Everything He made He made for you. All He longs for is that you would return to Him, for He has such wonders for you if you will.