Today’s selected passage is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the book. In the previous chapter we find the Lord instructing Jeremiah to “Arise, and go down,” while in this passage we find the Lord instructing the prophet to “Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests, and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell the” Jeremiah 19:1-2). ARISE AND GO DOWN! This was the instruction the Lord gave unto the prophet in the eighteenth chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name. GO AND GET! TAKE! GO FORTH UNTO! PROCLAIM THEIR! This was the instruction the Lord gave to Jeremiah in the nineteenth chapter. In the previous chapter we find the Lord instructing Jeremiah to arise and go down to the potter’s house, and it would be there he would hear the words which he would speak. There is an incredibly striking contrast between what we read in the eighteenth chapter and what we read in the nineteenth chapter, for in the eighteenth chapter we find the prophet instructed to go and hear, while in the nineteenth chapter we find the prophet instructed to go and proclaim. The prophet was first instructed to go down in order that he might be in the position to hear, while the prophet is now instructed to go forth in order that he might be in the position to speak. What an absolutely incredible concept this is—the concept that there are times when the Lord instructs to “arise and go” in order that we might be in the place where we might hear His voice, while there are times when the Lord will instruct us to “go forth unto” in order that we might proclaim the word of the Lord. The prophet Jeremiah was instructed to go down to the potter’s house in order that he might see, while in this passage the prophet was instructed first to go and get. Please don’t miss the significance and importance of this, for I am convinced that we must be able to discern and distinguish between the two realities. We must be able to discern between those times the Lord is instructing to go and see, and those times the Lord is instructing us to go and get. How many times have we missed the word(s) the Lord has desired to speak to us because we have gone to get rather than going to see. We dare not go to get when we have been called to go and see, and we dare not go and see when we have been called to go and get!
GO AND GET! Please don’t quickly pass over the first three words the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah, for these words form the foundation of that which the prophet would speak. It is absolutely imperative that we understand the power of going and getting, for it was in the power and reality of going and getting that Jeremiah was able to go and proclaim. How many times have we attempted to go and proclaim, yet we haven’t listened when the Lord has instructed us to go and get. In other words, the Lord had called Jeremiah to stand at his post and stand in his place and there proclaim the word of the Lord, but had he done so without first going and getting, he would have been missing that which the Lord desired to use before His people. There are times within our lives when the Lord has indeed called us to stand and proclaim, yet prior to and before He has called us to stand and proclaim, He has called us to go and get. How many times have we missed that which the Lord has desired to speak to us because we refused to listen when He instructed us to go and get? How many times have we missed proclaiming that which the Lord desired us to proclaim because we refused to listen to His voice when He instructed us to go and get? There is incredible power in “going and getting,” for it’s in the “going and getting” that we are positioned both with the place we have been called to stand, and the words we have been called to proclaim. If we are honest with ourselves, there have been times in our lives when we have missed being positioned in the place we have been called to stand because we have not gone and gotten that which the Lord has instructed us. There have been times in our lives when we have missed proclaiming and speaking that which the Lord has instructed us to speak because we haven’t gone and gotten that which the Lord has instructed us to. Please note the Lord didn’t simply tell Jeremiah to “go and get,” and then leave him to wonder and guess what it was he was supposed to get. When the Lord instructed Jeremiah to “go and get,” He revealed exactly what it was he was supposed to go and get. When it comes to the word and message of the Lord, the Lord knows exactly what He needs, and He knows exactly what He wants to use. The Lord instructed Jeremiah to go and get a potter’s earthen vessel, for it was in the vessel where the word was found!
THE MESSAGE IS IN THE VESSEL! IT’S IN THE VESSEL WHERE WE FIND THE MESSAGE! This word of instruction is actually quite remarkable, for it was sort of the original “message in a bottle.” To Jeremiah it was just a potter’s earthen vessel, yet for the Lord it was an illustration that would speak directly to the hearts of His people. In the previous chapter we found Jeremiah instructed to go down to the potter’s house, and it was there in that place where he would see the original work of the potter being marred in his hands, and instead of his discarding the work, he made it again into that which seemed good unto him. In this passage, we find Jeremiah not instructed to go down to the potter’s house, but to go and get a potter’s earthen bottle. A POTTER’S HOUSE! A POTTER’S EARTHEN BOTTLE! Oh, I cannot escape the concept and reality of “the message in the bottle,” for it was only as Jeremiah obeyed the voice of the Lord and went and laid hold of the potter’s earthen bottle that the message would be discovered. There are times in our lives when it isn’t until we have in our hands that which the Lord has called and instructed us to “go and get” that we discover the word and message He desires to speak to us. It’s in the power of possession that we are able to discover the word and message the Lord desires to speak to us and perhaps even through us. How many of us are missing out on the word and message the Lord desires to speak because we have not gone down to get that which He has instructed us to? There are potter’s earthen bottles the Lord has called and instructed us to go and get, and it’s only to the degree and measure we are willing to listen and obey that we discover the word which the Lord desired to speak. In the previous chapter the word of the Lord was found in the work of the potter being remade after being marred, yet it’s in this chapter where the word of the Lord is found when the vessel is broken. Please catch this! There are times when the word of the Lord is found in the vessel being marred and remade, and there are times when the word of the Lord is found in the vessel being broken. I am convinced that we must be able to distinguish and discern between the two realities, for until and unless we are willing to do so, we might very well miss the word of the Lord. We dare not look for the word of the Lord in the breaking of the vessel when the word of the Lord is found in the remaking of the vessel. We not look for the word of the Lord in the remaking of the vessel when it is actually found in the breaking of the vessel. There are times when the vessel needs to be remade in the potter’s hand, and there are times when the vessel needs to be broken in the potter’s hand. What’s more, is that each of these realities points us to an absolutely incredible reality concerning our lives—the reality that each of these represents seasons in our lives. There are times when we have been called to a season of the potter’s vessel being remade, reformed, and re shaped, and there times in our lives when we have been called to a season of the potter’s vessel being broken.
There is an Old Testament account recorded in the book of Judges that helps illustrate this point all the more, however, before I proceed to that account, it is necessary and imperative that I first direct your attention to a passage in the New Testament. In the fourth chapter of the apostle Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians we find this absolutely wonderful and incredible declaration—“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). The apostle Paul made an absolutely astounding and marvelous declaration that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, and it is that treasure in earthen vessels that reveals and proves that the excellency of the power of God. The question that remains to be asked is how is this treasure in earthen vessels realized and actualized within our lives. If we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us, how is that reality realized? Beginning with the sixteenth verse of the seventh chapter we begin to discover the how this treasure in earthen vessels proves, reveals, manifests and demonstrates the excellency of the power of God. “And he [Gideon] divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, WITH EMPTY PITCHERS, AND LAMPS WITHIN THE PITCHERS. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, AND BRAKE THE PITCHERS THAT WERE IN THEIR HANDS. And the three companies blew the trumpets, AND BRAKE THE PITCHERS, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place found about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-mehloah, unto Tabbath. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites” (Judges 7:16-23).
The Midianites had come against the children of Israel and had both provoked and oppressed them. In response to their oppression, the Lord raised up for them a judge by the name of Gideon who would bring about deliverance for the children of Israel. This deliverance would come as Gideon’s army was decreased from thirty-thousand men to a mere three-hundred. It would be in the hands of these three hundred men Gideon would place three distinct items—a trumpet, and empty pitcher, and a lamp. In the sixteenth verse we read how Gideon first divided the company of three hundred into three companies, “and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.” Please don’t miss the significance of the lamps within the pitchers, for so long as the lamps were hidden within the pitchers the light which shone from them would be concealed. There was a light that was present within the pitchers, yet it wouldn’t be until the pitchers were broken the light could be seen, and the victory could be realized and actualized. There was in essence a treasure within earthen vessels that would prove, would demonstrate and would manifest the deliverance and salvation of the Lord of hosts, yet it wouldn’t be until those vessels were broken that what was inside could be actualized. The apostle Paul wrote that we have this treasure in earthen vessels which proves and demonstrates the excellency of the power of God, yet it’s not until those vessels are broken that the treasure that is concealed within can be seen, actualized and realized. There is something about this treasure hidden and concealed within earthen vessels that we must recognize and understand, for there are many of us who are trying to release and reveal the treasure without being willing to break the vessel. I have to pause for a moment here and declare unto you that you cannot and will not see the treasure concealed within the vessel unless you are willing to allow the vessel to be broken. You are trying to see and lay hold of the treasure that is hidden and concealed within the earthen vessel, yet you aren’t willing to allow the vessel to be broken. I am convinced the reason the treasure is hidden and concealed within earthen vessels is because earthen vessels can be broken. Notice that the Father raised up an earthen vessel in which to place His nature, and it wasn’t until that vessel was broken and crushed upon the cross that the excellency of the power of God could be manifested. Jesus Christ was the very divinity of the triune Godhead encased in an earthen vessel, and I am convinced the reason it was so was because victory can only be realized in the breaking of the vessel. Jesus was the ultimate demonstration and manifestation of an earthen vessel being broken in order that the treasure concealed within might reveal, prove and demonstrate the excellency of the power of God.
If the Father concealed divinity, eternity, and the triune nature of the Godhead in human flesh, and then allowed that vessel to be broken, what makes us think that it can or should be any other way? I can’t help but be reminded of another passage of Scripture that reveals the reality of that which is precious being released in the process of breaking. THE PRECIOUS IS ONLY REALIZED IN THE PROCESS OF BREAKING! How many times do we try to understand and experience the precious, yet we aren’t willing to allow the process of breaking to take place within our lives? We want to experience that which is precious, yet we aren’t willing to undergo the process of breaking that is necessary to bring forth the precious. TREASURE IS REVEALED IN THE BREAKING! THE PRECIOUS IS RELEASED IN THE BREAKING! DELIVERANCE IS MANIFESTED IN THE BREAKING! SALVATION IS MANIFESTED IN THE BREAKING! You may know where I am going next, but let me present to you the words of Mark as are recorded in the fourteenth chapter—“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her” (Mark 14:3-5). This same passage is also recounted by the apostle John in the twelfth chapter of his gospel account—“Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:1-3). In the gospel of Matthew we read it this way—“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor” (Matthew 26:6-9). VERY PRECIOUS! VERY COSTLY! When speaking of this treasure that was concealed within this alabaster box, we learn from the gospel writers that it was both very precious and very costly. With that being said, however, it wasn’t until the earthen vessel was broken that that which was precious could be released, and the fragrance of it fill the room. WHEN THE CONTENTS OF AN EARTHEN VESSEL FILL AN ENTIRE HOUSE!
Gideon and his three hundred men broke the pitchers in their hand, and the light from the lamps undoubtedly lit up the entire mountainside around the Midianite army. This woman carried with her an alabaster jar of very precious and very costly ointment and the fragrance of that ointment was released when the box was broken. Let us pay careful and close attention to these words, for these words reveal something absolutely incredible to us—the reality that it’s in the breaking that the word of the Lord is revealed and released. It’s in the breaking that the treasure contained within earthen vessels is released. It’s in the breaking that the precious is released into the atmosphere. It’s in the breaking that both light and deliverance is released. It’s in the breaking that salvation is released for all who would call upon the name of the Lord. The prophet Jeremiah was instructed to “go and get a potter’s earthen bottle,” yet it isn’t until later when we discover the Lord instruct him to take that which had had been instructed to take and break it. “Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, and shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaker a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again” (Jeremiah 19:10). Notice that Jeremiah was first instructed to go and get the vessel, yet shortly thereafter he was instructed to go and break the vessel. How we must fully understand this passage, for we have no issues or problems with going and getting that which the Lord has instructed us to get, yet the struggle and problem comes when the Lord instructs us to take that which we have gotten and break it. “But Lord, didn’t you just tell me to go and get this? Didn’t you just tell me to go and pick this up? Weren’t you the one who instructed me to pick this up in the first place? Why are you now telling me to break it? Can’t this be used for something entirely different?” This was the problem that surrounded the disciples, Simon, Judas, and those present in the house, for they asked why this vessel was broken, and why it wasn’t used for something different. TAKING WHAT WE HAVE AND BREAKING IT BEFORE THE LORD! TAKING WHAT WE HAVE AND BREAKING IT AT THE FEET OF JESUS! How do you respond when the Lord instructs you to go and get, and then shortly thereafter the Lord instructs you to break that which He had just instructed you to get? You will notice that it wasn’t in the getting of the vessel the word of the Lord was found and released, but it was in the breaking of the vessel the word of the Lord was found and released!
It’s in the breaking of the vessel the word of the Lord is released to a generation! The divine and eternal Word of heaven was wrapped up and contained within human flesh, yet it wasn’t until that earthen vessel that the full weight, the full measure, the full power of that Word was released in the earth. The cross was the instrument that brought about the breaking of that earthen vessel, and it was in the breaking of the vessel the weight, the glory, the power of the Word was released. IT’S IN THE BREAKING OF THE VESSEL THE WORD IS RELEASED TO BRING SALVATION! It was the Word that would bring salvation, yet it wasn’t until the vessel which housed and contained the Word was broken that the work and will of the Father could be actualized. Oh, you and I have to get this in the very depths of our soul and spirit. We have to recognize and understand this reality, for it has the power to dramatically alter the way we live our lives. How many of us spend more time, effort and energy trying to hold on to that which the Lord has called and instructed us to break? The Lord instructed Jeremiah to “go and get,” but then he followed them up with instructing him to “go and break.” Between “go and get” and “go and break” there is a work that must be done, for Mary undoubtedly at one time went and got the alabaster box full of ointment, yet there was a path and process she experienced before she could “go and break.” Notice that Mary not only experienced the death (and subsequent resurrection) of her brother Lazarus, but she had also experienced personal deliverance and salvation within her own heart and life. It was from that place of process and progression that Mary could “go and break”—take that which she had in her possession and break it at the feet of Jesus. I am convinced that it was more than just the fragrance from that ointment that filled the room, but the fragrance and aroma that flowed from Mary’s heart. I am convinced that there were two acts of breaking which took place on that day—the first was the breaking of the alabaster box, while the second was the breaking of her own heart within her. The alabaster box was a picture and representation of Mary’s own heart, for the minute that box broke and its contents poured forth and spilled out, her own heart broke and the contents within it poured forth. Oh that we would recognize and understand that it’s only in the process of breaking that the work, the word, the will of the Lord can be released into the atmosphere and into the earth. Jeremiah was instructed to go and get, yet that which he was instructed to go and get was never meant to be held on to.
HOLDING ON TO THAT WHICH WE HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO GO AND GET! How many times have we attempted to hold on to that which we have been called to go and get? How many times do we seek to hold on to that which we have been called to go and get? Jeremiah knew and understood the process and journey of “going and getting,” yet there would come a point when that “going and getting” would be met with “going and breaking.” Perhaps the greatest demonstration of this is found within the Old Testament book of Genesis within the life of Abraham and his son Isaac. Let the words of this passage speak for themselves and completely flood your heart and soul with the reality of what has been written. “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife:; and they went both of them together…And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:1-6, 9-10). How many of us would “rise early the next morning” after receiving such a command and instruction from the Lord? How many of us would bring the wood, and would even bring Isaac, yet conveniently forget the wood, and/or the fire? There are many of us right now who are being called to carry the knife and the fire, for those are the instruments the Lord will use to bring about this work within our hearts and within our very souls. Abraham was given Isaac according to the promise, yet the Lord desired to see if Abraham would break that which he had been given. Let this passage speak for itself, and test the very reins of our heart in this very moment of our lives. It’s not in the going and getting that the word and will of the Lord is revealed and released, it’s in the going and breaking. Let us this day make a deliberate and conscious effort that we will not only go and get, but we will go and get. Let us understand the Father has never and will never ask us to do anything He Himself hasn’t already done, for the Father spared not His own Son, but instead gave Him, and even caused him to be broken for you and for me. Oh that we would allow the Spirit of the Lord to lead us to the place of “going and getting,” but also give us the courage and the grace to “go and break.”