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AM Bible Study Archives
"Two Baskets of Figs"
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
I. THE VISION IS GIVEN (vv. 1-3).
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
II. THE VISION IS EXPLAINED (vv. 4-10).
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.