-This short and very interesting chapter deals with the prophecy Jeremiah is given after the deportation of the first wave of captives from Judah, including Jeconiah the king, and the officials of Judah with craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem. They were carried to Babylon, but not necessarily as slaves. The LORD showed Jeremiah that they would be the “good figs,” refined in a foreign land (Jeremiah 24:1-5). Among these was Daniel the prophet and government leader in Babylon, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego, Daniel 1:6-7). These captives the LORD would set His eyes on for good to bring them back one day into the land. He would build them up and not overthrow them. He would plant them and not pluck them up. He would give them a heart to know Him, the Almighty LORD, and they would be His people and Him their God because they would return to Him with a whole heart during their time of tribulation (Jeremiah 24:6-7). These are contrasted with the “bad figs” that Jeremiah saw, which were rotten to the point they could not be eaten (Jeremiah 24:3). These were the ones left behind in Judah, including King Zedekiah and his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remained in the land, and those who dwelt in Egypt to the south (Jeremiah 24:8). These would be abandoned by God, made a terror and an evil for all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach, a proverb, a taunt, and a curse in all the places God would scatter them (Jeremiah 24:9). The LORD would send the sword, famine, and pestilence upon these rotten “bad figs” until they were destroyed from the land, which the LORD had entrusted to them and their forefathers (Jeremiah 24:10). *Application* The difference we can see here between the good and bad revolves around the heart issue. The exiles to Babylon opened up their hearts to respond to God in their captivity, and He healed them. Those who stayed behind arrogantly must have believed that they were still blessed in the land, or in Egypt, and did not turn their hearts back to the LORD. Don’t let circumstances indicate where you are at in your relationship to the LORD. Let the refining of difficulties and hardships refine you in God’s image. This is always our best hope when we go through the tests and trials of life. Sometimes we may falsely assume we are blessed when life goes well and on the other hand cursed when it doesn’t. However, trouble is a blessing when it makes us stronger in our faith and turns our hearts to the LORD. Prosperity on the flipside is a curse when it entices us away from dependence upon God. If you are facing trouble, ask the LORD to help you grow in Him. If things are going your way these days, beg the LORD to protect you from arrogance, complacency, and apathy. Amen!
Verses to Memorize: Jeremiah 24:6-7