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"Two Baskets of Figs"
Jeremiah 24:1-10

Wednesday AM Bible Study
February 9, 2005

Have you ever picked up a piece of fruit that sat in a bowl - one that looked luscious and fresh to your eyes, but was found to be spoiled and covered with mold underneath? There's something deceptive about fruit that looks good but has begun to go bad. Soon, you find yourself examining all the fruit in the bowl, separating the good from the bad.

That's how God felt about His covenant people in Judah. He examined them, and had found that many of His covenant people were like bad fruit. They would not trust Him, and would not submit to His discipline. And so, He made a distinction between them. In this passage, the prophet Jeremiah is given a vision that illustrates that distinction vividly. God's purpose in giving this vision is to give His people a chance to repent of their disobedience, and of their rebelliousness against His discipline, before it became necessary to throw them out as 'bad fruit'.i

A. The setting of the vision is given (v. 1).
1. This was something that the Lord "showed" Jeremiah. It was not a vision that Jeremiah himself came up with; but was a revelation from the Lord.

2. In it, two baskets of fruit were set before the temple of the Lord - that place that was supposed to be the place where the people met the Lord and worshiped Him. It was a place in which the people had come to trust as proof of their acceptance by God and of their security from any harm. It was to be the place that marked them as His people; and yet, instead, it became the setting in which this vision of impending judgment was given.

3. It is given in the context of judgment already administered. King Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, had already been carried off by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon - along with many of the craftsmen and smiths of the land. And now his brother Zedekiah was set on the throne in his place by the Babylonian king; and yet, his days were numbered as well (2 Chron. 36:9-21). And yet, even though God was calling the people to submit to His judgment through Babylon and allow themselves to be taken captive for a time, they still resisted.

B. The vision itself is described (vv. 2-3). One basket had very good figs - very ripe and ready to be eaten; and the other had very bad figs - so rotten that they couldn't be eaten. God asked Jeremiah what it was that he saw; and Jeremiah confirmed that, indeed, one was very good and one was very bad.


A. The good figs (vv. 4-7). The Lord explained that, like the good figs, He would "acknowledge" (that is, favorably regard) those who willingly submitted to the judgment for sin that He was administering "for their own good". He promises that He will set His eyes on them for good, and bring them back to the land. He promises to build them up and not pull them down. He promises to plant them and not pluck them up. And He promises to give them a heart to know Him and to return to Him with their whole heart.

B. The bad figs (vv. 8-10). The Lord then explained that, like the bad figs, He would give up Zedekiah and all his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem who remain in the land, who sought help from Egypt. He would deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth "for their harm". He would allow them to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse in all the places to which they were driven. And He would send the sword after them, famine after them, and pestilence after them. He would do this until they are consumed away from the land that He had given to their fathers.

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