Read Jeremiah 24
Focus on verse 3
I’m not overly familiar with figs. I can’t say that I would recognize one if I saw one, and if I did I would be hard pressed to tell you if it was a good fig or a bad one. I do know that I like fig cookies. We used to call them Fig Newtons; a small square bar with a cookie dough exterior filled with a sweet seedy paste – presumably made from figs.
Apparently the people of Israel were much more familiar with figs as the Lord uses a vision of figs to communicate His intentions to the prophet Jeremiah.
And the Lord said to me,” What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad they cannot be eaten.” (v. 3)
The interpretation of the vision was that the figs represented the people of the nation of Israel. There were some people, in this case those who would be captured and taken to Babylon, whom the Lord compared to the good figs. These people would be built up and given a heart to know the Lord and to be His people again. The bad figs – which were so bad that they could not be eaten – represented King Zedekiah and those leaders around him who remained in Jerusalem as well as those who had fled to Egypt. These people would be utterly destroyed, pursued by famine, sword and pestilence wherever they went.
As I consider this, I find myself thinking, “Who knew figs could be such a powerful picture of how God separates the good from the bad!” While this once again raises the question that if God ordains it do we really have a choice, I am reminded that part of God’s message to the people through Jeremiah was that those who surrendered to the King of Babylon would be spared, while those who resisted would be killed. The choice continues to remain entirely with us in regard to our disposition toward God and His authority. If we persist in resisting Him…we ultimately choose our own demise. If we choose to repent and submit to Him…He is quick to extend His grace and peace to us for all eternity. So there we have it…all that from a couple of figs. I will be reminded every time I eat a Fig Newton.