Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 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.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 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! Jeremiah 13:6-10
God is bringing it here in the Book of Jeremiah! His chosen and loved people, Israel, has left Him and chosen to follow other gods. They have chosen sinful flesh and pagan worship practices over knowing the One true God and He, through Jeremiah, is pointing out their stupidity and warning them of the judgment that’s coming.
Jeremiah is known as the ‘weeping prophet’ because of the message he brought to the people. He had a long life and ministry of bringing this message of coming judgment. Jeremiah is known for being unsuccessful. Nobody listened. Nobody repented. Judgment came and God’s people were removed from the Promised Land and carried into Exile.
Jeremiah was often depressed by the lack of progress. People hated him too, which probably didn’t help. I think he succeeded by giving us an awesome Book of the Bible!
The completely useless belt in Jeremiah 13 communicates God’s opinion of His people. Verse 10 lists 3 reasons they’ve become this way.
- They refuse to listen to God’s Word
- They follow the stubbornness of their hearts
- They serve and worship other gods
The judgment against God’s people is because they are worshiping other gods. I will be judged on this too! If I am serving with my time, energy and resources any other gods, that’s not good and worthy of judgment! How do I not do that? If I don’t want to end up at #3 (above) then I need to not do #2 because that leads to #3.
It’s not hard to be wooed and swayed by the gods of this age because they most often appeal to the sinfulness of the flesh and go for my heart. If my heart embraces that sin and becomes stubborn, worshiping and serving other gods is an easy and natural next step.
The Scripture talks about ‘guarding your heart’ which is exactly what I must do! I must guard it from sin, yes, but even more importantly is guarding it from stubbornness! (I understand that this is sin too.) Stubbornness of heart gives no room the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It crowds God out.
How do I keep #2 (above) from happening? Easy! Avoid #1 from being true. (This is easy to understand, not easy to do necessarily!)
For God’s People in Jeremiah #1 led to #2 which led to #3. The same is true for me. To worship and serve Jesus today and everyday, an opposite pattern must be lived out.
- I listen to God’s Word
- My heart remains soft toward Him and His teaching
- I live out the life He desires for me (which is worship and service!)
It begins with hearing the Words of God. I need a daily injection of His truth, which is why devotions are so important for me. Without them I can grow wise in my own eyes. Without God’s Word correcting me, my heart can grow stubborn and hard toward God and others. Living for and worshiping lesser things is the natural progression. How much better to be taught daily by God Almighty?
Thank You, Father, for Your powerful Word! Thank You for Your Spirit that resides with me and teaches me Your way. I pray that my life would be a walking testimony of Your grace and gospel. Be glorified through me today!