Scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-11 (NIV)
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’”
Can you imagine if Yoda had come out of exile during the 20 year period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and said that the Empire was going to collapse, that all this power and authority would be dismantled? Besides the fact that he’d have been hunted by the stormtroopers and other agents of the Empire, nobody would have actually believed him. To look upon the mighty power of the ships, troops, and the entire military machine was to believe that the Empire would last at least as long as the generations the Old Republic did.
It didn’t, though. A band of rebels and the return of the Jedi to the galactic scene led to this overwhelming military might being routed and pushed into the back corners of the galaxy. While their philosophy may have not been extinguished, as we see by the First Order, it definitely wasn’t able to do as much damage as it had before.
Israel and Judah probably thought they were like the Empire. After all, weren’t they the chosen people of God? He was always going to be there to protect them, to keep them lifted up, to keep other nations in fear of them. They didn’t think about they actually need to, you know, obey God, serve God, do what God wanted. They were His people and that was all that mattered.
Jeremiah told them differently. Nothing on this earth lasts forever. If God willed a nation to rise up, it would rise up. If He willed it to be destroyed–even if they were His people–it would be destroyed. God wasn’t impressed by bloodlines, He was impressed by heartlines. Those that loved, honored, respected, feared God would be His people, not necessarily those born into the family.
We would do well to remember this as well. We often think of God as our buddy, but we have to remember the awesome majesty of the Lord as well. We need to turn from any evil ways we have and repent of our sin so as to not incur the wrath of God, something we are unable to withstand!