SPIRITUAL ‘Figs-in-the-basket’

The Tasting of Figs–

Although my experience of ‘fig-tasting’ didn’t come to my food palate until after I was married (I thought FIGS came from a type of cookie), I have enjoyed the taste of fresh figs ever since.

A Woman I know well, her  “FIG” Story:

“I grew up in Southern California, in a small suburb of San Diego.  And when I think back to fall mornings before school, I think of sweet ripe figs at the breakfast table. 

Our next door neighbors had a huge fig tree that hung over our side fence and they told us to pick and eat as much figs as we wanted.  And that fruit was so good! 

That big old tree produced so much fruit that the excess just dropped to the ground to rot–and in the Spring, there would be tiny little seedlings poking through the ground all over the place.”

THANKS for sharing honey your past memories of the one particular ‘side-yard’ FIG TREE.  It fits in nicely with my study in Jeremiah!

TWO BASKETS OF FIGS and TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE:

Jeremiah 24:1-10–

The TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE represent that important division that existed in Jeremiah’s day.  And it continues to have great importance even today.

Background:  Being “tuned-in” to God…

“AFTER NEBUCHADNEZZAR king of Babylon had taken into exile Jeconiah [also called Coniah and Jehoiachin] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the princes of Judah, with the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon, the lord showed me [in a vision] two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord”  (Jeremiah 24:1 AMP)

Some translations of the Bible starts out Jeremiah saying, God caused me to see” or “The Lord showed me”.  JEREMIAH was spiritually tuned into God, so God could use him in a special way.

The Vision–

And God showed Jeremiah this vision of the two baskets of figs.  God then used Jeremiah to write a letter of encouragement to the people of Judah as they went into captivity.

My hope for Christians today is to be spiritually tuned in, in such a way…that it causes US to see…that He will give us a vision…that He will be able to use each one of us to be an encouragement (Acts 18:27).

THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT CAN DIVIDE US INTO GROUPS…

Divided by sexes…there are men and women.

Divided by race...blacks, whites, Hispanics, and so on…

Divided by religious beliefs…Catholic, protestant, Muslims, Jew…

And in our country today…it is particularly obvious…

Divided sharply by politics…

It is sad to see some of the conflicts between the different groups.

By continuing my study in Jeremiah…

I am seeing the people of Judah divided into two groups…and we will find that this same division continues today.  Of all the things that divides us, this division is most important:

More important than…man and woman; black or white; Democrat or Republican; Jew and Gentile or any other division you can come up with.

JEREMIAH 24, God uses a vision of Figs-in-the-Basket.

GOOD FIGS
GOOD FIGS
ROTTEN FIGS
ROTTEN FIGS

THE “WARNING” WAS APPARENT!

Jeremiah had been warning the people for about 20 years of God’s coming judgement.  But by and large, the people ignored him…refusing to return to God.

How often do we see the same reactions of people we know today, maybe even in our family  not reacting to God’s Word– His warnings ignored and backs turned.

The outcome of disobedience…

We see that judgement has finally arrived…Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon invaded and attacked…Jeremiah had warned the people over and over and over again…REPENT or…!

THE BOILING POT–

6870341-boiling-water-in-old-sooty-kettle-on-the-hiking-campfireThe picture to the left is a ready boiling pot over a campfire– but THE BOILING POT I’m talking about was hanging perilously over Judah and has now finally boiled over on the people–judgement has come.

Jeremiah had warned them that God didn’t want them to try to escape the wrath nor did He want them to be left behind.  God wanted them to submit to the Babylon king and go into exile.  He had His reasons for them not hiding.

We hate that word in our lives–“to submit” , to be “submissive” to anything– or to anybody.  Even in the words given to us in Ephesians  raises the hair on the backs of our necks:

“Submit to one another out of the reverence of Christ”  and “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord”  (Ephesians 5:21, 22 NIV)  That word has been left out of the wedding vows almost completely today.  But it still doesn’t change the fact.

But some of the people of Judah ran to Egypt to escape or…they were able to avoid capture in their own country.

From a human perspective…

The people were able to avoid the trauma of exile…

They were the ‘lucky’ ones…

They avoided capture…

They avoided the Exile that would eventually last 70 years…

They were able to return from Egypt back to Jerusalem…

They were probably pretty proud of themselves…

And meanwhile, they were probably saddened about their brothers and sisters who were captured.

But things aren’t always as they seem in our lives…

Lets look again at the VISION God gave Jeremiah–

The Lord showed Jeremiah 2 baskets of figs…to place in front of the temple of the Lord (verse 1).

Deuteronomy 26 talks about the Law of First FruitsVerse 2 says,

“You shall take some of the first of all produce of the soil which you harvest from the land of the Lord your God gives you and put it in a basket, and go to the place [sanctuary] which the Lord your God has chosen as the abiding place for His Name [and His Presence].”

The firstfruits were suppose to be a tithe; a tenth of the produce [fig trees generally produce 3 crops, or harvests of fruit] that the priests would then distribute to those in need.  They were supposed to be the BEST...the choice fruit.

In verse 2 of the text in Jeremiah 24…

We can see that one basket of figs was very good…they were plum and juicy, just like Dianne’s memories of the ‘sweet figs’ on the morning breakfast table.  Since fig trees can often have 3 crops, the first harvest is the most desired…treated as a delicacy.

But in this VISION, God shows Jeremiah another basket of figs.  This basket of figs ‘nasty’…they were so rotten…nobody would eat them!  You certainly wouldn’t want them on your breakfast table.

After God shows Jeremiah the vision, He interprets it for him.  God tells Jeremiah the GOOD FIGS represent the people taken out of Judah in exile.  And the BAD FIGS represented those who either escaped the eventuality or remained hidden in Judah.

I don’t know about you, but my first impression of Jeremiah’s vision should have been in reverse.  The BAD FIGS should have been the one’s who were taken captive by the Babylonian Army and the people who had escaped the devastation were the GOOD FIGS–God was protecting them–or was He?

About the “good figs”…

God has a wonderful promise for them:

Verse 6–  “For I will set My eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.”

Have you ever been in a situation where you ask the question, “Why me Lord?  Not again, enough is enough!”  We forget about the PROMISES found in God’s Word.

The land we find ourselves in–sickness, poor health, old age, unemployment, poverty, fear…sometimes makes us say to ourselves, “What’s the deal, am I a ‘bad fig’ or what?”  But as you meditate on the beautiful words of God’s promise, it should comfort us in knowing, “I don’t know the ‘why’s’ but I do know God’s promises!”

What other might see in our circumstances…

Now the world might look at the people who were led away captive in a strange and foreign land as defeated losers.  But that’s not what God saw–He had other plans for them…

But for the “rotten figs”…

The ‘nasty figs’ represented those people who avoided exile…contrary to God’s will for them.

God’s harsh indictment…

Because of their disobedience to God’s will, they would be treated…tossed out and trampled underfoot.  All other people in the surrounding nations would look at them and say…

“Oh, YUK.  They’re so disgusting!”

And in Rebellion, as they returned home or leaving their hiding place…

They might have been singing the words to this 1968 popular tune:

Regrets, I’ve had a few

But then again, too few to mention

I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption

I planned each chartered course,

each careful step along the byway

And more, much more than this,

I did it my way

Did you notice the “I” in the lyrics?  God had spoken to the people through the prophet about His plans (Jeremiah 21:9):

“He who remains in the city [Jerusalem] shall die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence.  But he who goes out and passes over to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be to him his only booty [as a prize of war].” 

And yet…the “I” had surfaced–I did what I had to do” Lord.  Don’t need your help!

The Key Difference Between the GOOD FIGS and the BAD FIGS:  THE EXILES and the LEFT BEHIND

The difference between the 2 Groups are found in verse 7, where God says:

“And I will give them a heart to now (recognize, understand, and be acquainted with) Me, that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

Although the exiles were moved from their homes…to a land where they found themselves captive…  Although they were moved away from the temple…away from their families, God would take care of them…God would bless them…God would renew the covenant with them.

Because, although many turned away from God and embraced the sin of the world, through their exile they would return to God; not just in pretense.  Scripture tells us that they will return to God WITH ALL THEIR HEART!

My Detective  Work in Jeremiah 24  Revealed A Picture of Yours and My World–

The Figs-in-the-basket!.

As I was studying God’s Word, I began to picture our world today; our families, our children and grandchildren; the people who are close to us.  Some are very, very good and some are very, very bad.

The Differences…

The GOOD return to God with ALL their heart and the BAD continue on in their refusal to obey God.

When I was little, I can remember running from punishment and hiding under my parents bed.  I can almost hear my mother’s voice as I curled up into a fetal position,

“Mel, if you don’t come out here now and get your punishment…it is only going to be worse for you!

I knew the rules and the consequences of ignoring them; of disobeying.  Was I a “good fig” or was I a “bad fig”?  I like to say I was just an ‘UN-ripe fig’, not yet ready for the picking.

Overcoming the Rottenness–

Those of us who are ‘overcomers’, born-again believers, who are EXILES in this world…we don’t belong here…this is NOT our land.  Yet, God would have us to live in this land…

To strive…

To live…

To be a positive influence to those around us…

To follow the covenant…

To follow God and obey Him…

To allow Him to be our Lord and Savior…

To be a GOOD FIG!

Another Great Separation Will Take Place…

JESUS tells us about it:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats;  And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left.  Then the King will say to those at His right hand,  Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”  (Matthew 25:31-34).

When it comes to the coming JUDGEMENT…determining where you and people you know will be spending eternity, there are only                 2 Baskets to choose from:  The GOOD FIGS…and the ROTTEN FIGS…the SHEEP and the GOATS…the SAVED and the LOST.  There isn’t a middle ground…NO 3rd Basket for those who didn’t get saved.  And yet, they were good people or good citizens.

In The Meantime…

You can choose which basket you are in!  JESUS can take the rottenness and make it clean!

THE TIME IS NOW!
THE TIME IS NOW!

For those of you who are SAVED…(ALL you GOOD FIGS), now isn’t the time to set back and wait out the exile.

No Time to Sit Back
No Time to Sit Back

Now is the time to flourish, right where you are planted.  Yes, the world isn’t our home…we are exiles here.  But while the time remains…we must be about our Father’s business!

One thought on “SPIRITUAL ‘Figs-in-the-basket’

  1. Cathey Stott December 17, 2012 / 7:52 am

    Thank you so much for your post. I never want to be a nasty fig and I pray for God’s grace to overcome the rottenness. Blessings

    Like

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