RIPE OR SPOILT – WHICH BASKET ARE YOU IN? - Jeremiah 24

Shabbat Shalom all,

Romiyim/Romans 6:20-22 “For when you were servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit, therefore, were you having then, over which you are now ashamed? For the end thereof is death. 22 But now, having been set free from sin, and having become servants of Elohim, you have your fruit resulting in set-apartness, and the end, everlasting life.

Having been set free from sin, we ought to be having the fruit of our lives resulting in complete set-apartness unto Elohim; yet is this the case? As we consider how our lives are to be overflowing with the abundant fruit of righteousness and peace, we need to allow the mirror of the Word to show us where our fruit is either lacking, or has become spoilt! The Greek word translated as ‘fruit’ is καρπός karpos – Strong’s G2590 which means, fruit, benefit, gain, harvest, produce and typically refers to fruit that has been plucked, rendering the figurative meaning of the labours, works or acts of those who have fitted themselves with every good work unto everlasting life. What we can therefore clearly understand and establish is that our works of righteousness are vital in being evident in our lives, as we continue to produce much fruit, as a people who are living pure and undefiled set-apart lives. A few weeks ago I gave a message on ‘bringing fruit to perfection’, and our need to make sure that our lives are producing the good and functional fruit of righteousness, as we walk steadfast in our obedience to our Master and King, יהושע Messiah!

יהושע Messiah tells us that we are known, or rather shall be known by our fruit, and while we might think of fruit being very ripe and delicious, we must realise that there is often fruit that is rotten or spoilt, due to varying factors. Tonight in a message called, ‘RIPE OR SPOILT – WHICH BASKET ARE YOU IN?’, I would like us to be reminded how we are to be a people who remain in our Master and bear abundant fruit of righteousness!

Please turn with me to Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24 (Read).

Throughout the book of Yirmeyahu we see a number of visions that the prophet is given from יהוה, visions that contain some very clear object lessons that Yirmeyahu would have to relate to a people who, at large, were unwilling to listen and heed the words of warning, rebuke, reproof and correction from Elohim. יהוה had shown Yirmeyahu a boiling pot, an almond branch, a linen girdle, and on a trip to the potter’s house, broken clay pots. יהוה had always used something that the people would be able to understand and relate to. While the visions and messages would be clear, most of the time, most of the people refused to hear and remained stubborn and stiff-necked. Now here in Chapter 24 Yirmeyahu is given yet another vision, and this time it is of two baskets of figs that were set before the Hěḵal of יהוה. These two baskets of figs represented two groups of people, two distinct groups that represented a huge division in Yirmeyahu’s day, and a huge division that still exists before us today, a division of two groups of people that will be separated and dealt with, at the coming of our Master and king, with each group being given each according to its work!

In a time of great distress, Yirmeyahu is given this clear vision, as a great source of encouragement, along with a stern rebuke and warning for those who lack the true fruit of righteousness!

With these two baskets being found before the Hěḵal of  יהוה, we are also given a prophetic glimpse into the coming reward for the righteous, as well as the judgement on the unrighteous. The first fruit of figs were usually offered up at the Temple/ Hěḵal of יהוה at Sukkot, and so here we are able to see the ‘time of selecting’ these two baskets coinciding with that which will take place before Sukkot – that is from the time of Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur, where there will be a clear separation of sheep and goats – those who are marked for eternity and those who are marked for destruction!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 25:31-36 “And when the Son of Aḏam comes in His esteem, and all the set-apart messengers with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His esteem. 32 “And all the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. 33 “And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 “Then the Sovereign shall say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the reign prepared for you from the foundation of the world – 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, 36 was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’

I find this text very fitting with that which we have just read from Yirmeyahu, as we are able to pick up the clear reference to that which is edible and good, and that which is not able to be eaten and is wicked!

This passage goes on to describe how the righteous will ask how they fed the Master when He was hungry, as well as how the unrighteous will ask when did they see Him hungry! While this text goes on in describing thirst, clothing and further care, I am simply  mentioning the ‘eating’ part, for practical lessons contained in connection with the vision of Yirmeyahu! Fruit is something that is to be eaten, and only good nourishing fruit is able to be eaten and cause many to be sustained, while fruit that is rotten and unbearable is no good and can only be thrown out and destroyed! Good edible figs speaks of a people who bear the pure fruit of righteousness and peace to perfection, while bad figs that cannot be eaten speaks of those who bear the ugly fruit of rebellion and unrighteousness.

Yirmeyahu had been warning the people for about 20 years regarding יהוה’s coming judgement. The majority of the people ignored his warnings and refused to turn back to יהוה. They had become so hardened that his continual warnings meant nothing; and so they just carried on in their rebellion against יהוה, doing as they please while rejecting the needed obedience to His Torah.

Judgement had now come! Through Neḇuḵaḏrets-tsar, king of Baḇelon, who invaded and attacked Yerushalayim.

יהוה had told the people that, He didn’t want then to run away or try to escape; He didn’t want them to be left behind; and He wanted them to submit to Baḇelon and go into exile. Many were carried away into exile, while others avoided capture and ended up staying, and still others fled to Mitsrayim.

From the human perspective, the people who avoided exile must have thought that they were the lucky ones who avoided the capture that would last 70 years, and were probably very proud of themselves for not getting caught. Perhaps they were sad about their brothers and sisters who were captured, yet thought that they had escaped discipline.

In verse 1 we are told that Neḇuḵaḏrets-tsar had exiled the sovereign of Yehuḏah, Yeḵonyahu, along with the heads, craftsmen and smiths. In other words, all leadership and skilled tradesmen had been taken to Baḇel.

As we consider the description given to Yirmeyahu regarding these two baskets of figs that were found at the Hěḵal of יהוה, we are able to see a clear warning being given against those who do not bear true fruit of righteousness, while a clear encouragement being given to those who obey and submit to יהוה, even under the threat of exile!

Two baskets – two groups – a clear separation! What is interesting to take note of here is how this vision shows us that these two baskets were both before the Hěḵal of יהוה, and what we see today is how so many people think that they are ripe and fine before the Hěḵal of יהוה, when in fact they are nothing but rotten and evil! So many today assume that they are all fine and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their worship, while their lives are riddled with selfishness and compromise! In Yirmeyahu 7 there is a clear warning from יהוה, telling them not to use false words and say ‘This is the Hěḵal of יהוה, the Hěḵal of יהוה’, when the rest of their lives are filled with deceit and compromise. Many display a ‘rom of worship’ yet lack the true power of complete obedience in living set-apart lives unto יהוה.

The question we need to always be able to answer as we live our lives in total set-apartness is, “what basket we are in?”!!! Before anyone simply assumes to be in the ripe and good basket, they must make sure that their lives are in complete submission to the Word and that they remain in Messiah, through total obedience in walking in His commands, in order that He remain in them and is able to present them as acceptable and good before the Father without shame!

Marqos/Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinning generation, of him the Son of Aḏam also shall be ashamed when He comes in the esteem of His Father with the set-apart messengers.

In verse 2 Yirmeyahu begins to explain what he sees: the one basket had good figs, like figs that are first ripe, with the other basket having figs that were very spoilt and unable to be eaten!

The Hebrew word translated as ‘good’ in its root form is טוֹב  toḇ – Strong’s H2896 and carries the meaning, pleasant, good, agreeable, beautiful, to be pleasing, done well. In the true understanding of this word  טוֹב  to, we can see that it may best be translated in most cases as ‘functional’ – for  יהוה  said in Berěshith/Genesis 1:31 that when He saw all that He had made, He said it was very good. What He saw, was His creation functioning properly and working the way it should and this is why it was ‘good’. The Hebrew root word translated here in Yirmeyahu as ‘spoilt’ is רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, bad, evil, wicked, harmful’.  Just as we understand that טוֹב  to represents that which is ‘functional’, we can then see that רַע ra represents that which is ‘dysfunctional’, which simply put speaks of that which reveals an abnormal and unhealthy lifestyle that is not functioning as it should.

We are told that this basket’s figs were ‘very’ spoilt, and the Hebrew word for ‘very’ is מְאֹד me’od – Strong’s H3966 which carries the meaning of, ‘muchness, abundance, diligently, exceedingly, excessive, fully, immense’, which is simply emphasising just how rotten, spoilt and wicked these figs were. They were so bad that when we are told that they were ‘so spoilt’, we see that this last ‘spoilt’ in this verse is the Hebrew word רֹעַ roa – Strong’s H7455 which means, badness, evil.

The good figs were as ‘first ripe’ which is the Hebrew word בִּכּוּרָה bikkurah – Strong’s H1063 which means, the first ripe fig, earliest fruit, which comes from the Hebrew root word בָּכַר baḵar – Strong’s H1069 which means, to bear new fruit, to constitute as first born’. This further emphasises how we who are ‘in’ Messiah, and stay ‘in’ Him, are to be bearing the fruit of righteousness, and giving our best. These first ripe figs were the best pickings, the most sought after, and pictures for us how we are to always be giving our best unto Elohim, giving Him our all. We know that the first is always an assurance for the whole that is to come, and so it is with us – as we give our best unto Elohim, we are declaring that we will always do so, as we live as a daily living sacrifice, bearing the good fruit of righteousness that will cause us to be gathered into His good basket, as one in Him! The Hebrew word used here for ‘basket’ is דּוּד dud – Strong’s H1731 which means, basket, pot, jar, kettle and interestingly it comes from the root word דּוֹד dod – Strong’s H1730 which means, beloved’, further emphasising how we are to remain in the Beloved and He will remain in us – when we bear ripe good fruit!

The bad fruit or spoilt figs represents that which is rotten – fruit that is past picking, never been of any use as it is now spoilt and rotten!

From verse 4-10 we are then given the explanation of the vision, where יהוה makes it clear to Yirmeyahu that those who have gone into exile will be acknowledged!!! They will be acknowledged because they obeyed!

He is further told that this exile was for their own good! The understanding of these words carries great insight for us, as we recognise here that this disciplining of יהוה was necessary, so as to bring His people back to Him, and that they would serve Him with all their heart. We too can learn from this, that while we may not always like needed discipline, it is necessary and will cause us to reap a great reward, if we submit to proper disciplining that is required!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:11 “And indeed, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but grievous, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who submit to it and follow in it!

In verse 6-7 יהוה sets forth the clear promises given to the basket of good ripe fruit: He firstly says that He will set His eyes upon them – this alone speaks of a redemption and a restoration! It is by the blood of Messiah that we are able to come near to the throne of favour and find help in our time of need, and we recognise that this is not of our own work but only by that which Elohim Himself has done for us! His loving-commitment endures forever! He then promises to bring them back, which in the Hebrew, the root word for ‘bring back’ is שׁוּב shuḇ – Strong’s H7725 which means, to turn back, return, repent, recover, and it is written in the hiphil active, which can render this as meaning, cause to return.  In Tehillim/Psalm 19:7 we are told that The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being. It is by His Word and His instructions that He ‘causes us’ to turn back to Him, after turning away from sin and wickedness!

יהוה further promises that He will not only cause the obedient exiles to return, but that He would build them and not pull them down! The Hebrew word translated as ‘build’ is בָּנָה banah – Strong’s H1129 meaning, to build, besieged, construct, fortify, rebuild’. A word that is derived from this root word, through the meaning ‘to build’, is אֶבֶן eḇen – Strong’s H68 meaning, stone, corner stone, differing weights, plumb line. We are therefore able to see how it is יהוה who builds us up as living stones; and being built up in Him, we are able to stand strong and stand firm in any circumstance, with the full assurance that the Rock upon which we stand will stand firm and not be moved or shaken! When we are built up in Him and keep our feet steadfast upon His word, we have the sure promise that He will not pull us down. The Hebrew word for ‘pull down’ is הָרַס haras – Strong’s H2040 which means, throw down, break or tear down, pull down, utterly overthrow.

These are sure promises in our Beloved Master and King – He causes us to be a people who return to Him, He builds us and promises that we shall not be thrown down, broken or destroyed – and to top it all off – He says that He shall give us a heart to know Him – that He is יהוה! Many claim to know Him – yet do not know that He is יהוה!!!

A whole heart! – We know that He writes the Torah upon our heart, and if something is upon someone’s heart, then it renders the clear understanding that one  continually thinks and meditates upon that which is on his heart! A functional people, who know יהוה and remain steadfast in Messiah, are people who meditate on His Torah day and night, causing them to be a people who do not wither when heat comes, but stand firm as a well rooted tree beside the pure waters of life, and are able to bear fruit in its season!

We who were once far off from the covenants of promises, and have now been brought near by the blood of Messiah, recognise that we once were without the Truth; and knowing this we do our utmost to guard our hearts and minds in Messiah as we guard His Torah and obey His clear commands! A similar promise is given in Hoshěa to a returning Ephrayim, after a much longer exile! I think that it is fitting for us to read that chapter:

Hoshěa/Hosea 14:1-9 “O Yisra’ĕl, return to יהוה your Elohim, for you have stumbled by your crookedness. 2 Take words with you, and return to יהוה. Say to Him, “Take away all crookedness, and accept what is good, and we render the bulls of our lips. 3 “Ashshur does not save us. We do not ride on horses, nor ever again do we say to the work of our hands, ‘Our mighty ones.’ For the fatherless finds compassion in You.” 4 “I shall heal their backsliding, I shall love them spontaneously, for My displeasure has turned away from him. 5 “I shall be like the dew to Yisra’ĕl. He shall blossom like the lily, and cast out his roots like Leḇanon. 6 “His branches shall spread, and his splendour shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Leḇanon. 7 “Those who dwell under his shadow shall return. They shall revive like grain, and blossom like the vine, and become as fragrant as the wine of Leḇanon. 8 “What more has Ephrayim to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after him. I am like a green cypress tree, your fruit comes from Me.” 9 Who is wise and understands these words, discerning and knows them? For the ways of יהוה are straight, and the righteous walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.

In verse 8 of Yirmeyahu 24 we are told the fate of the spoilt figs that cannot be eaten! יהוה cannot stomach wickedness, unrighteousness and rebellion, and He will discard of the wicked, vomit out the lukewarm and consume the unrighteous!

The warning or judgment was very clear here – those who had refused to go to Baḇel as well as those who went to Mitsrayim would be destroyed by sword, famine and plague! Yirmeyahu had pleaded for years for the rebellious to listen, but they refused! What we can learn here is that if you reject יהוה’s discipline, you will be rejected! What we also recognise from this chapter is that it was never יהוה’s plan to keep His people in Baḇel, but rather He used Baḇel to cause them to return. We know that those who refuse to come out of Baḇelon and Mitsrayim, shall be gathered together with the rotten and spoilt figs!

The Harvest is ripe and workers are few! As the Master tells us – the wheat and the darnel are grown together until the harvest – then the darnel is gathered, bundled and burned, while the wheat is taken to the granary!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:29-30 “But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the darnel you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I shall say to the reapers, “First gather the darnel and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my granary.” ’

As we grow in Messiah amidst a corrupt and wicked generation, may we submit ourselves completely to His Word and to the discipline of His Truth over our lives, that we may be found to be a people who are gathered into the good and ripe basket!

The call for us to come out and be separate is very clear – the problem is that so many are not coming out, but prefer to stay in the depravity of their self-consumed lifestyles, as they are unwilling to submit to the pure obedience called for by Elohim.

What also struck me here is that concept of a basket that represents the whole. We are all part of the body of Messiah, and we each have a huge responsibility toward each other in bearing the pure fruit of righteousness, lest we find ourselves being scooped up with the rotten and dysfunctional!

As we consider these passages that we have looked at tonight – do you see the clear reality of this profound vision? There are two baskets – RIPE OR SPOILT – WHAT BASKET ARE YOU IN?

Is your life completely submitted to walking in complete set-apartness? Are you continually bearing good fruit, or has there been some rotten fruit of hatred, malice, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, pride, lust, or uncleanness, greed of gain, displeasure, wrath, evil, blasphemy, or filthy talk from your mouth? This kind of fruit is rotten and will be gathered with the rotten!

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:8-10 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light – 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth – 10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Master.

Just as the taught ones of Messiah gathered up the 12 baskets after feeding the 5000 and 7 baskets after feeding the 4000, which teaches us that the Word of Elohim is sufficient for all, yet also teaches us that there is once again a gathering into baskets that will take place. RIPE OR SPOILT – WHAT BASKET ARE YOU IN?

ARE YOU FUNCTIONING ACCORDING TO THE WORD OR HAVE YOU BEEN DYSFUNCTIONAL AND DISOBEDIENT?

As we consider the sure promises of our Master and King, let us do our utmost to remain in Him and encourage each other daily, as we see the day approaching – not neglecting the gathering as some are in the habit of doing, and let us go out and bear the good and ripe peaceable fruit of righteousness!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!