Jeremiah 24 tells about how the Lord gave Jeremiah a vision of the good and the bad before the eyes of the Lord.
In the vision, two baskets of figs were placed before the Lord. One basket had very good figs, like the first-ripened figs of the season. The other basket of figs had awful tasting figs, so bad that they could not even be eaten.
The Lord asked Jeremiah, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" Jeremiah replied that he saw good figs and bad figs. He saw that the good figs were very good, the bad figs were so bad they could not be eaten.
After King Nebuchadnezzar had taken Jeconiah and the officials of Judah into captivity, they had became despised and broken. Along with his capture, many of the princes of Judah and Ezekiel the prophet were also taken into captivity. The prophet Daniel and his friends had also been taken into captivity not long before.
Nebuchadnezzar did not want the people of Judah to fortify themselves. He also took away many of the carpenters and builders, leaving the people vulnerable.
The people of the land assumed that those taken were sinners, because of the awful fate that led them into captivity. They though that God would not allow His righteous people to be led captive. But this was not the case.
There were two major prophets in Babylon, Ezekiel and Daniel. God gave the people assurance that he would take care of his people, and would weed out the good from the bad in His own way.
Like the good figs, God said that he would regard the good people that were exiled from Judah. He said that He had sent them from Judah into the land of the Chaldeans. He had set His eyes on them for good, and would bring them back into their homeland. In that day, the people would turn their hearts back to God.
There were also some people in captivity that God was displeased with. God said that he would treat Zedekiah, the king of Judah, his officials, and all other evil doers like the bad figs. They would become a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. They would be utterly destroyed from the land that God had given to them and their fathers.
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: Do we think that God is giving punishment when bad things happen to others around us? Do we not know that sometimes God puts good men and women through trials for His own Glory? If we are facing a difficult situation, do we think that God is punishing us? Would we be the good figs or the bad ones?