Jeremiah 5-6, 13
God’s instructions to Jeremiah are kind of odd. He told the prophet to buy a linen belt and wear it around his waist for a few days. Then he was to go to the river, hide the belt in the rocks, and leave it there. Jeremiah obeyed. He bought the belt and wore it, traveled to the river and hid it, then went home.
Many days later God told Jeremiah to go back to the river and dig up the belt. When Jeremiah uncovered the belt it was “ruined and completely useless.” (13:7)
Shocker! Of course it was ruined, exposed to the elements, neglected, and filthy. No self-respecting prophet would be caught dead wearing such a thing. I get it. My question is, what would God have me learn from this belt fiasco?
God explained to Jeremiah, and us, the meaning of this picture. Believers are that belt, attached to God, useful to God, cared for by Him. We have purpose and identity and the Presence of God so long as we stay attached to Him. God tells Jeremiah he bound us to Himself for His renown and praise and honor. Holding us to Himself brings Him joy.
“But (we) have not listened.” (verse 11)
If you read chapters 5-6, and much of Jeremiah’s prophecy, you’ll see how often God speaks, God acts, and His people just don’t listen. His people choose sin. We hide ourselves in the rocks, and that’s what makes us as useful to God as a disintegrating belt.
“Your wrong doings have kept these (God’s blessings) away; your sins have deprived you of good.” (5:25, emphasis mine)
It isn’t that God is randomly zapping people with disease and hardship, or that He is pushing a “hate” button in people’s hearts because He gets a kick out of reality TV. What is happening in this world is a direct result of our actions, not His.
God bound us to Himself when we accepted Jesus as our Savior. That’s where we are protected, useful, and loved. That’s where God wants us to be. We break those bonds when we listen to the lies, when we ignore the Truth, when we hide in the rocks instead of purposefully clinging to Him.
God says there should be wine in wineskins. We say, of course we know wineskins are for wine. We aren’t stupid.
But then God says the land will be filled with drunkenness. Whether wineskins or belts, if we are doing our own thing without being attached to Him, there will be consequences. And it will destroy us. (vs 14)
I firmly believe our country is in the state it is in because too many Christians are useless. Including me.
The great thing about God, however, is that He can take a useless piece of disintegrating cloth and turn it into something beautiful and useful and a masterpiece that brings Him renown and praise and honor. Including me.