THE LORD SHEWED ME, AND, BEHOLD, TWO BASKETS OF FIGS WERE SET BEFORE THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD,-
When I was growing up I remember eating figs right off of the tree that grew in my grandmother’s yard. It seemed back then that everyone had fig trees growing around the house, but nowadays you seldom see a fig tree. They seem more of a novelty rather than a common sight today. But fig trees are very common in the arid Mideast where figs are consumed with regularity. Because of the fragile nature of figs, they must be eaten soon after picking or they will spoil so they are most often eaten in baked goods, dried, or in fig preserves.
The LORD shewed Jeremiah two different baskets of figs. The fruit in one basket is described as good figs and the other as naughty figs. This is a very quaint use of the term naughty and I might add a somewhat humorous one. One usually associates naughtiness with action which it seems unlikely for a fig to be involved in. One can only laugh when he pictures a fig disobeying the tree from which it fell. The context of the passage, however, makes clear the meaning of the term to be those which are spoiled or rotten. In this illustration the LORD goes on to make the application that the good figs (those HE selected) represent HIS people and the “naughty” or “evil” figs represent the wicked who HE has rejected. Generally speaking, men don’t like to consider the fact that GOD chooses some and rejects others solely on the basis of HIS own free choice. Men don’t reject the notion that a choice is made, in this matter; they just do not want that choice to be made by GOD. They would rather take comfort in their own (supposed) “ability” and “desire” to choose GOD than to have themselves cast upon the mercy of GOD. But the man who has become aquainted with that boundless mercy finds comfort nowhere else.
The scripture is very clear that there is a separation made between the people of GOD (the elect) and the children of this world (the reprobate). Many descriptive phrases and names are used to describe this difference. The sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares, the faithless and the believing, the living and the dead, are all names used to set forth the fact that GOD has made a difference between HIS people and the men of this world. This is illustrated quite well in the passage we are looking at here in Jeremiah 24.
Since we teach and believe very strongly in the doctrine of GOD’s unconditional election of a people in CHRIST JESUS, we are sometimes accused of spending too much time in discussing it. Our critics say we see it on every page in the scripture. We have to plead guilty as charged, because this precious truth is taught throughout the whole of scripture. This is not just some little optional doctrine which a man may take or leave at his own pleasure. This doctrine is the very basis upon which redemption rests. Had there been no election there would have been no redemption. The very fact that GOD chose to save some is an indication that HE loves HIS creation and intends to save it. That which is despised is not usually preserved. The LORD described HIS choice of HIS elect bride when HE told the nation of Israel why HE loved them. (see Deut.7:6-
In Jeremiah’s vision of the two baskets of figs we see that :
Who can fully comprehend the glory of GOD’s grace manifested in a sin cursed world? Who can pronounce himself worthy of such grace? “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? “ (1 Cor 4:7)