Today you should read: Jeremiah 13
Jeremiah 1:6 makes me laugh. The Lord calls Jeremiah as one of his prophets, and Jeremiah’s response was “Alas, Lord God.” Basically, he said “Oh no.” Whereas Isaiah said, “Here I am, send me,” Jeremiah said, “Here I am, send someone else.” Today, we get a glimpse into why he had some trepidation as a prophet of the Lord.
Again, comparing Jeremiah to Isaiah, Isaiah said, “All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” (Isaiah 64:6). In our passage today, God told Jeremiah to get a garment and make it filthy.
This strange little story is interesting. God gave Jeremiah a pretty daunting task in a lot of ways, all to make the same point that he made through the prophet Isaiah. First, he required a “linen waistband.” This linen garment is reminiscent of the priesthood and symbolic of the nation of priests that Israel was supposed to be. Second, the waistband was probably more like a loincloth.
Third, he had to wear it around without it ever touching water. Not only would water soften the material, making it more comfortable, but that thing probably got rank-nasty. Israel isn’t exactly known for frigid temperatures. Compounding the issue is that God commanded Jeremiah to go to the Euphrates. The Euphrates was more than 350 miles from Jerusalem—on foot and about 2500 years before Gold-Bond was invented.
For the two trips, Jeremiah walked more than 1,500 miles. Upon returning, the waistband was ruined—not that it was probably in great shape when he hid it the first time. Whereas Israel was supposed to be useful and necessary to the whole world, they had become useless. This is what it means when the Lord said, “For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they did not listen.’”
Verses 12–14 illustrate impending calamity as drunkenness will overtake the people and clashes will ensue. However, in verses 15–27 we see God’s continued patients, mercy, and faithfulness. Even in rebellion, there is still time to repent.
Jeremiah 13 has some strange stuff in it, but when we take the time to understand what the Lord is doing through these vivid examples, we should stand in awe. God is so patient. He is a Good Father who endures with His people, giving opportunity after opportunity for repentance.
If you’re reading this, I hope you understand that the time in which Jeremiah lived is similar to our time now. Judgment is coming, but the people don’t know and don’t care. Jeremiah has the truth of the Word of God, he is proclaiming it, but the people aren’t responding. If you feel like you have shared and shared with people without response, welcome to the party. That’s not an excuse to stop sharing or not to examine your methods and message, but there are people who don’t want to hear it—that’s as true now as it was in Jeremiah’s day.
I love the definition of success I learned years ago in Campus Crusade for Christ, “Success is stepping out in faith in the power of the Holy Spirit leaving the results up to God.” Be successful in sharing, but don’t be surprised when people continue on their path leading to destruction.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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