3 Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
8 “ ‘But like the poor figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the Lord, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.
The good figs were very good. The bad ones were very bad. We had a similar experience with strawberries this week. I bought a little box of them but we did not eat them right away. Some were fine and some were just a little bad. We made quick judgments about which ones we would eat and the ones we wouldn’t.
In the ‘Baskets of Figs’ vision there are two baskets. When you see very good fruit there is an emotional response about them. The same is true for rotting fruit, but the emotion is very different! I think there were two baskets because when fruit begins to turn bad, it’s pervasive! All the fruit in the container begins to go south and each bad piece negatively affects the others. You could not have one basket of very good and very bad fruit. When this begins, the very good fruit is no longer very good! We did pick out some good strawberries but none of them were ‘very good.’ There’s a lesson here. Maybe about who your friends are…
What is intriguing to me this morning is how God ‘regards’ the good fruit. To these people who have been exiled by His own decision, God will:
• Watch over them
• Bring them back out of exile
• Build them up
• Plant (or establish) them
• Give them a heart to know Him!
Then God says these wonderful words:
They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
Once again we see the importance of relationship between God and His people. He wants them to be wholly devoted to Him… to seek Him with all their heart.
The leaders of the people are another story. The leaders who led the people astray God will regard them as the bad figs. The same emotional response to rotting fruit God has toward the King and his officials because they did not steward their authority well. The people wound up far from God because these leaders did not lead them in the things of God. So just as we throw out rotting strawberries, God treats these evil leaders.
9 I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, an object of ridicule and cursing, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their fathers.’
Father, thank You for this heart that wants to know You. Thank You for being my God and allowing me to be Your son through Jesus. Help me to know and obey Your commands today. Help me be the kind of leader that points people to You, for You are the Giver of life and the One who brings meaning and purpose to us. Prune these branches and make us more fruitful, for Your glory.