This chapter gives us an excellent OBJECT LESSON! Let’s begin by reading Jeremiah 24:1-3 which says, “The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.” Here are “two baskets of figs,” one contains “good figs” and the other “evil figs.” WHO do they represent?

The GOOD FIGS: Let’s read verses 5-7 which tell us who the GOOD FIGS are, “Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them a new heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” The GOOD FIGS picture all those who had been carried away captive into Babylon. God had brought them there “for their good.” They had fallen into sin prior to this, but God would use their time in Babylon to work in their hearts and cause them to repent. Then He would restore them to their land, establish them there, and give them a new heart so they would walk with their God as His people. This had a partial fulfillment in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, but its complete fulfillment looks on to a future day when God will gather His earthly people back to the land of Israel and they will enter into Christ’s glorious, millennial kingdom.

The BAD FIGS: Verses 8-10 go on to describe who the EVIL FIGS are, “And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely, thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.” The EVIL FIGS picture Zedekiah and all who were NOT carried away captive to Babylon. God left them there “for their hurt.” Their hearts were so evil and defiant that God purposed them for judgment, by scattering them throughout the world or by destroying them through the sword, famine, or pestilence.

So, what made the real difference between the GOOD and the BAD figs? God’s grace! All in Israel deserved to be judged, but in the case of the GOOD FIGS we read, “I will set mine eyes upon them for good.” God’s grace purposed them for blessing and thus He carried them to Babylon, as we saw, “for their good.” Dear fellow-believer, let us never forget that we all deserve to be judged, but God has purposed us for blessing and because of that Romans 8:28 assures us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (157.9) (DO)