This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words. Jeremiah 19:15
The LORD had just instructed Jeremiah to buy a clay jar and take it, and the spiritual leaders of Israel, out of the City and to smash the jar in front of them as he proclaimed these words to them. This was to be a stark object lesson for them.
Like the other OT prophets, Jeremiah not only spoke out the truth of God to his covenant people, he foreshadowed the true Prophet who would come in fulfilment of the promise given to Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. With a heavy heart, Jeremiah pronounced the LORD’s judgement on his beloved City, his Jerusalem, his Zion (cf Psalm 48). Such a proclamation cost the prophet his acceptance with the ruling authorities, and put him on a collision course with current opinion and teaching (cf 18:18 and 20:1-2), threatening his welfare and even his life (cf 38:4). To the popular Jewish mind it was unthinkable that the LORD would turn against the City he loved!
The Prophet’s heavy heart also foreshadows the heavy heart of our Saviour: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35). This Jesus has stood in our place as rebellious sinners, as the ‘clay jar’ we saw yesterday that WE ARE, and has been ‘smashed’ under God’s wrath in our place on the cross so that we are protected from that wrath.
While he longs for us to feel secure in the salvation he has won for us (John 10:28-29), he also warns strongly against the sort of complacency that characterised the religious leaders of HIS day (cf Luke 14:15-24) and of Jeremiah’s day. Like Jeremiah, with an even heavier heart, he had to proclaim the destruction of Jerusalem and all it signified for God’s people because of their failure to own him as their promised Saviour and King. Jesus has also promised that he will build his Church, and that the gates of Hell/Hades will not overcome/withstand it (Matthew 16:18). Let us not err, either by doubting this promise, or, equally, by failing, as Israel did, to strive to live in conscious, active conformity with his will and ways, and so enjoy his blessing.