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A journey Through Jeremiah: Jeremiah 13:1-11

Read Jeremiah 13:1-11

God directs Jeremiah to buy a linen sash or belt to put around his waist. The important thing to see here is that the sash was meant to be worn close to the body. This would be important as it is a picture of what the relationship of Israel is supposed to have with the Lord. It is not to touch any water because it if did it would ruin it. The material the belt or sash was made from would have been broken down by the water and destroyed by the water. Action sermons are important in the lives of God’s prophets. Often the words they spoke were not heeded by the people of God. So, the Lord had the prophets of old perform action sermons to drive home the message He was sending to the people. God sends forth His word because of His love and mercy for us. His desire is that we would turn from our sin and turn fully to Him. It is our sin that destroys us and sadly during the time of Jeremiah the people of God rejected the word of the Lord repeatedly.

It is important to see that every time God spoke to Jeremiah he responded in obedience. This was key for any prophet of the Lord. Often the call of a prophet was very difficult, and they were hated by many. But they had great intimacy with the Lord. God has given us His word and it is important we respond in obedience. Now some translation say that God told Jeremiah to go and hide this belt or sash in the Euphrates, but if that was the Euphrates River that was nearly 700 miles away. Most likely it was located at a place called Perath which was near Jeremiah’s hometown. But he was called to go and hide it in a crevice in the rocks where it would be touched and impacted by water. God would use the physical picture of the breakdown of the belt to show the deteriorating spiritual condition of the nation of Israel. Because they had continued to worship the false gods and rejected the worship of the Lord, they spiritually were being destroyed.

After many days the Lord tells Jeremiah to go and retrieve the belt. We have no idea how many days passed, but that is not important. God told Jeremiah to go at the appointed time because God now knew the condition of the belt and knew that when Jeremiah saw the belt that it would be ruined and useless. This wasn’t about the condition of a belt. The belt was simply a physical picture of the nation of Israel and their spiritual life before the Lord. When we continue to leave the door open to compromise and indulging in the things of sin and are contrary to God’s word, we leave a door open to the enemy. It will destroy us much like cancer destroys the human body. It may start out small, but it grows over time. This was the case in the nation of Israel. The more they abandoned the worship of the Living God for the false gods of the foreign nations, it destroyed Israel from the inside out. A people who was called to live in covenant with the Living God, failed to live according to that covenant and as a result the curses listed in the covenant were poured out upon them. We must remember that the devil simply desires to kill, steal, and destroy. Temptation and sin are simply a tool in the hands of the devil to try to destroy the people of God.

The word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah again. The Lord says He will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Israel. The charges against Judah were they refused to listen to God, they followed their own hearts, and they worshipped and served the false gods that were not gods. It is amazing how things have not changed. This is still the issue in many churches in America with the people of God. We may often wonder why we as a nation are in the place we are in, but much of it has to do with the failure of the church to be the church. Sadly, we have churches that are either spiritual lukewarm, dead, compromised, or corrupted. Churches that have lost their first love and chased after the ways and wisdom of this world. The only hope for restoration and healing begins with repentance. God had to fully crush Israel because of their pride, because if He didn’t intervene, they would have been destroyed by their sin. There are times in our lives when our Father must discipline us to correct us and correct the course of our lives. But in His mercy, He never abandoned Israel, but He did bring correction because of His love for them.

As a loin cloth, sash, or belt were to cling to the waist of the individual, Israel was called to cling to the Lord. They were called to worship the Lord alone. To rely on Him for everything. But they exchanged the worship of the Living God for the worship of false gods and idols. It brought a curse into the land. The Lord says that just as the sash became good for nothing, such was the case with Israel. Instead of being for the praise and glory of Almighty God, they would not listen. Their stubbornness was destroying them. How many of us have found ourselves in this place where because of our stubbornness we were refusing to listen to Almighty God. But thankful because of His grace He doesn’t abandon us. He doesn’t forsake us. But because of His great love for us He disciplines us and correct us.

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