The word of the Lord came to me again: 'What do you see?' 'I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north,' I answered. The Lord said to me, 'From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.'" NIV translation
The direction north was associated with heaven and the throne of God. Here, God shows the prophet a vision of the coming judgement on His people who have turned away from the things of God. Now, God is going to use people from the north as an instrument of judgement. This happened during Jeremiah's lifetime but nations are going to come against God's city again as we see in Revelation 16.
"'I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,' declares the Lord. 'Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah.'" NIV translation
God continues to give some of the details about this coming judgement and, here, He reminds us that He is calling these nations to come against His people. Many times we forget the fact that God will correct His people and sometimes He will use the godless people of the world as His tools. We have forgotten that this correction is done in love because He wants us to return to Him.
"'I will pronounce my judgements on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.'" NIV translation
Here, God states the charges against His people and what it comes down to is idolatry. The people have turned their back on God and worshiped things that they created. This is happening more today than it ever did back in the time of Jeremiah as people worship everything from animals to cars to houses and even to people.
"'Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.'" NIV translation
God warns Jeremiah once again that he must not fear the people because God is going to use him in a mighty way. If he does not fear them and faithfully shares God's Word, God will be with him. If he fears the people and does not proclaim God's Word, then God will make him an example of what happens to the disobedient. This is a good lesson for us today as well in that fear of anything except God is not of God. We can walk in confidence because God is with us and in fact lives in us through the Holy Spirit. We, like Jeremiah, are told to get ourselves ready and a big part of that is understanding what we have in Jesus Christ. Once we understand that, we will not fear any man and so will faithfully proclaim the Word of God no matter what happens.