God gives Jeremiah another prophecy of destruction for Judah. He is to speak this one. Wine will fill every jar. But this is NOT a good thing.
God tells Jeremiah first what to say to the people. Before he even starts this task, God tells him what the people will say in response. And ends with what he is to teach them from God’s first words. God KNOWS the hearts of man. He KNOWS our excuses. He KNOWS our sins. He KNOWS when we truly turn to Him too.
Even in the face of the people turning away from God and His impending judgment on them, He addresses them as “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel” (verse 12a). He has NOT given up that title, then or now. I can see two important reasons for this.
First, it establishes His history. He is not some god they just recently came across. He is the God who first called them as a people. It links Him to ALL His past works and words throughout their history. The God who gave Israel HIS commandments. “Oh! THAT God!”
Second, He wants them to KNOW where their trouble is coming from. It’s not an attack of an enemy. It is the very hand of God bring about a JUST ‘reward’ for their behavior. He told them what would happen “if” they turned away from Him. Now they will reap the consequences He already lined out for them.
God’s choice of illustration didn’t bring the people’s attention to what He was saying to them at first. They thought, “Yah. We have wine. We have a LOT of wine because things are so good. It’s a party every night!” But God wasn’t calling this a good thing. He was calling them drunkards because of their excesses and their focus. They were more concerned with ‘enjoying’ themselves than they were with anything else. “Don’t go putting restrictions on us!”
Jeremiah then gets to tell them what God is going to do with those full wine jars. He is going to ‘smash them against one another and let the wine flow out onto the ground. Not a gentle jostle but a full out ‘baseball bat’ smash! Not one of those jars will be still standing or able to hold even a teaspoon full by the time He is done with them.
I was thinking about the wine contained in those jars. We know the jars represent the people. God is going to break them; break their spirits by sending them into captivity. The wine could be seen as either the blood of the people or their enjoyment.
We are not told how many died in the beginning of Judah’s judgment. MANY people were carried away. But ALL of those, either living or dead, lost their joy. Even those who would be left behind had no more joy. They ended up running for fear of being taken too. The ‘party’ was over.
There are several places in scripture that talk about joy or the Holy Spirit with illustrations of liquid forms. Water springing up, a well, cup running over. We are also referred to as vessels in multiple places. The fuller the vessel, the more of the Spirit. One of the important things about these vessels is that they have the ability to hold the ‘liquid’. Even the story of the cracked pot, the pot had enough ability to hold water so that it could spread it along the journey home. The ‘jars’ of Judah were going to be smashed. There would be nothing left to hold the ‘wine’.
One last thing about the ‘wine’ or ‘water’ or whatever ‘liquid’ the vessel holds. You need to know the source of that ‘liquid’. Judah’s ‘wine’ was tainted. It was NOT from God. They were filling their vessels with pleasures from seeking false gods. They were rotting from the inside out. But when God is your source, you are regenerating from the inside out. Being filled with His Spirit can’t help but shine through in your life. KNOW your Source and know joy. “No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.” The same goes for joy!
Father God, fill me with Your joy. Let me spill it over on those around me and keep me coming back for a new refreshing. The good things in my life are not for me to hoard up and enjoy alone. They are to share with others. To show them Your love and drew them to You. Thank You for that opportunity God. And keep filling me up again Holy Spirit! I need a fresh fill every day!