A message of hope and restoration was denied, persecution thereby rose and plots of murder increased, and the Nation’s fate was evidently sealed to destruction: Jeremiah was commanded to “go down to the Potter’s House”, and there he would hear the word of the Lord that he is to deliver to the people of Judah (Jer. 18:2). In thematic continuation with the former message, and in the same time period, the entirety of the nation was symbolized in the vessels of clay that the Potter marred and made again, “as seemed good to the Potter to make it” (Jer. 18:4). This represents the utter dependency of the Kingdom of Judah, the whole lot of them are but a piece of clay in the Potter’s hands (Jer. 18:6). By interpretation, this means, the Lord can “pluck up”, “pull down”, and “destroy” any Kingdom and Nation He wants (Jer. 18:7-8). By interpretation, also, the Lord can “build” and “plant” any Kingdom or Nation He wants (Jer. 18:9-10). Depending on how that nation hears the threatenings of judgment, communicated theretofore, the Lord will or will not bring upon them the woes of condemnation. Depending on how that nation hears the promises of salvation, communicated theretofore, the Lord will or will not bring upon them the glories of restoration and establishment. Albeit, the word at present that Jeremiah delivers is this: “Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise and device against you: return ye now ever one from his evil way…” (Jer. 18:11).
Sadly, the people said in response: “There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jer. 18:12). The Lord responds lamentably concerning the desolations and calamities to come (Jer. 18:13-17) while the people imagine a vain thing that indeed, “there is no hope” (Jer. 18:12). There was hope! But, tragically and fearfully, their imaginations went from one vain thing to another, being compelled by the violence of depravity: “Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words” (Jer. 18:18). What a strong delusion! The people took counsel to slay Jeremiah, to dig a pit and lay snares for his feet (Jer. 18:22-23), even though Jeremiah affectionately sought their good when the word of condemnation was first delivered (Jer. 18:20). Who deceived the people to turn from a true hope and real security dependent upon our relationship with the Living God? Who turned the people to put their trust in a false hope of unconditional eternal security which was by word only, by precept, without vitality and reality in the Living God? It was “the law” from “the priest”, “the counsel” from “the wise”, and “the word” from “the prophet” of popular backslidden Judaism (Jer. 18:20)!