Today’s Scripture records two messages derived from an interesting prop, a linen girdle, which God has Jeremiah bury.
Jeremiah Chapter 13
Lessons from the text
The Weeping Prophet
The very last verse of this chapter is one of the many reasons for which Jeremiah is considered to be the weeping prophet. You can almost hear God's agony as He cries out wondering if His people will ever be made clean. The fact that God chose to send messages like this through Jeremiah means that Jeremiah himself had great compassion for his people and also felt great sorrow at the coming judgment.
To the strong man God reveals Himself a strong. To the tender man He reveals himself as tender. God looks on the heart of man, and He sees exactly what facet of His personality He needs to display to truly connect with a particular person. God is amazingly versatile, for He is the Creator of all things. He knows who can preach a compassionate messages with such sorrow and pleading that it will prick the hearts of those who hear it. He knows who will preach the messages of fire and brimstone with such fervor that it will scare the lost into salvation. The wonderful thing about God is that He looks at a person's character and knows exactly how to use him to be the most effective servant of the Lord, be it through strength, honesty, or weeping.
1-2 Up to this point, Jeremiah has been given sermons. Now, God gives him a sign to perform in the eyes of the people. Signs are designed to attract attention and the curiosity of the people. Then, when they ask why Jeremiah is performing a strange act, Jeremiah can use the sign as a parable for spiritual truths.
God tells Jeremiah to buy a linen girdle, which is opposed to the normal woolen garments worn by men. God commanded the priests to wear these underpants as part of their holy attire (Lev. 16:4). To not put it in water means to not wash it, therefore not cleansing it of whatever filth it has acquired. Jeremiah does exactly as God asks.
3-4 After Jeremiah fulfills God's first request, God gives him further instructions. God often does not reveal step two until one has completed step one. Faith allows the believer to act without knowing what to do next because the believer trusts God to provide the necessary information at the time that it will be needed.
5 As with God's first request, Jeremiah faithfully performs God's second request, burying the undergarment beneath the rock.
6 The Lord does not immediately reveal the third step. He does not tell Jeremiah that he should bury the underwear for six months and then retrieve it. Instead, Jeremiah has to wait "many days" before God reveals the next step.
7-11 As Jeremiah performs God's third request, the purpose for the sign is made apparent: God is using the old undergarment as an illustration of Judah.
12-14 God tells Jeremiah to open the sermon with a question. The people will sarcastically reply that every bottle will be filled, revealing their lust for drunkenness and lascivious living. This will lead Jeremiah into a rebuke from the Lord: since they people wish to be drunk, God will make them drunk with destruction. As a drunk rails against others due to being intoxicated, so shall all the inhabitants of Judah rail against each other. Even family members will be pitted against one another.
15-17 After prophesying destruction, God turns the sermon to instruction for the people. If they will humble themselves and return to God, then He will not bring darkness so intense that they will not be able to see where they are going. This refers to a spiritual darkness that accompanies great loss; losing what they hold precious and being deported, the people will stumble around without clarity, a vision for the future, or even hope. As a person with shattered dreams stumbles through life, so the Jews will stumble around from the consequences of their sins when God’s judgments arrives.
18 God pleads with the rulers to listen to Him. He does not desire to see His judgment fall on His people. God knows that if the rulers will humble themselves and repent, they will lead the people into repentance and thus turn the nation back to righteousness. Such is why Paul tells Christians to pray for their leaders (II Tim 2:1-2). On principalities see Eph. 6:11.
19 Because of the sins of the people, the entire southern kingdom will be deported.
20-21 Still addressing the king and queen, God commands them to lift their eyes and see the invading army that will come from the north (Babylon). God wants them to consider their future. By trying to please the people, the king and queen have allowed people to rule over them instead of them directing and leading the people. As a result, they will lose their people and be filled with sorrow.
Those who have authority, while always taking into consideration the desires of the people, should not be persuaded by general opinion. Rulers should base their decisions on sound judgment, righteousness, and the principles of God.
22 Before the event occurs, God responds to the pride and foolishness of the king and queen who do not even understand their sinful condition.
23 God poses an interesting question; can people change who they are? The conditions of the heart are like skin to a person. They cannot be changed or altered by that person. Thankfully, there is a way to change: when the Holy Spirit enters a heart, He changes the insides of a person into a new creature and instills a heart of flesh that can desire to do good even if one has only done wickedness all of one's life (Eze. 36:26-27).
24-25 Because the people have chosen wickedness over good, God will scatter them as if they are weak stubble that cannot even stand in the wind.
26-27 Discover thy skirt means to reveal what one has kept private. All of the idolatry, lust, and sins in which the people have chosen to partake will be exposed to them to their shame. God is stating that while He is bringing judgments, He is doing so to expose the filth that is in the Jews' hearts. God's desire is that they would be washed clean of their sins, yet the people refuse to listen to Him.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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