Jeremiah 13:17 If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears,
We must ask God to convict our hearts so we will follow Him wholeheartedly and not bury ourselves deep in our own sinful habits and selfish ways because the more we indulge in adultery and adulterated practices, the more we are inclined to continue and multiply those sins.
In Jeremiah 13, God demonstrated the meaning and expressions of a rebellious life through a linen belt by asking Jeremiah to buy a linen belt and put it on his waist. Thereafter, Jeremiah was to hide the belt in the crevice between the rock and come back some time later to pick it up again.
The linen belt had probably been ruined through the heat, cold, showers, humidity and exposure to the mites, dust or other elements while in the crevice. It can no longer be used as a belt again. This was God’s way of showing us that our lives will also be damaged in the same way even if we tried to hide in the darkened room committing our sins day after day thinking nobody sees or knows about it. But like the linen, our sins will destroy our use as a person, as a God worshipper and as His children.
Jeremiah 13 (New International Version)
A Linen Belt
1 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: 4 “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.
6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’
We live a sinful life before we come to the Lord. It is through His salvation that we are given the favours in life that will show us the ways to His blessings of rewards, protection, love, health, a positive mind, character and attitude. But when we decide to indulge in our illicit habits, why is it that we think God will be okay with it? Why is it that when our children violate our rules at home it is a wrong thing to do but when we violate God’s rule it is acceptable? The concept remains and the principles are the same. We shouldn’t extend such double standard treatment to our lives because to be honest, God is watching our every move.
In Jeremiah 13, you could say God was so pissed that He was fed up with our hideous ways of forgetting Him completely and dishonouring our bodies right before His eyes as if we’re not His children. He was so disappointed that he was ready to put his own precious children like a father and his own son at loggerheads, can you imagine that?
12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’”
He was also ready to expose the adulterers and the promiscuous from their addiction. Why do we allow ourselves such painful consequences when He has clearly instructed us from the beginning not to be so?
I believe our minds have been conditioned with characters where we can be programmed to be good and godly. But when we permit our minds to be inculcated with the wrong subjects, we will inevitably be rolled into mud thinking that is paradise.
Threat of Captivity
15 Hear and pay attention,
do not be arrogant,
for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
but he will turn it to utter darkness
and change it to deep gloom.
17 If you do not listen,
I will weep in secret
because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
overflowing with tears,
because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.
When we continue to indulge our lives with exceptional pleasures that bring forth arrogance and pride, the danger is that it will lead us into questionable decisions. We will forget our steps and miss the proper ways to weigh and analyse a situation. This often leads to disastrous results in the long run but it always begins with only one small mistake. If we are not aware, that one small mistake will expand and culminate in the “too late” consequence that we are all so frightened and regretful of. When those sorrows come, and come they will, we’d run to the Lord for shelter hoping that He will save us. But when that day finally arrives, should we also conveniently forget how we have wandered far into the back alley thinking that He didn’t see it?
22 And if you ask yourself,
“Why has this happened to me?”—
it is because of your many sins
that your skirts have been torn off
and your body mistreated.
23 Can an Ethiopian change his skin
or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
who are accustomed to doing evil.
24 “I will scatter you like chaff
driven by the desert wind.
25 This is your lot,
the portion I have decreed for you,”
declares the Lord,
“because you have forgotten me
and trusted in false gods.
26 I will pull up your skirts over your face
that your shame may be seen—
27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,
your shameless prostitution!
I have seen your detestable acts
on the hills and in the fields.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
How long will you be unclean?”
In all sense of our wrongdoings, we must come to a place to confess our sins to God. We must find a place of solitude to spend some time reflecting on what we’ve done that has rendered our lives to be in tatters, shattered and in complete disarray. If for one second we think God must save us regardless of our mistakes, then we will just like our children; we’ll forgive them no matter what they’ve done. But under such circumstances, we can’t help but to think that our children have taken us for granted. In the same way, have we also taken God for granted?
The promiscuous, the prideful, the arrogant, the sinful, the violators, the adulterers, the rebels, these are just some who have gone into the wrong chapters of God’s books. But in the end, whether He will save us or not, the question is not important because our God is a merciful one and a loving father to all of us. The more pertinent question is, will we wake up from the crevices and place ourselves back in light and walk the straight line that He has instructed us to be so?
If the answer is yes, we can be assured that even if the earth trembles and the skies darkened, we shall not be afraid knowing God is here to envelope us with His care.
But if the answer is no, then we had better hope that God will not extend the same measures as He had in Jeremiah 13 to those in Jerusalem and Judah. Merciful as He is, God too will be disappointed when we dispel His teachings and prefer to walk in the darkened back alleys instead.
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