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Bible Pathways 8/17/2000

August 17

Jeremiah 11 -- 14

All Israelites were to be holy and to serve only the Lord. As a result of their devotion, the power of God would guide them and provide for their needs. But, for many years, most of the people had been worshiping idols and had forsaken the Lord. To illustrate their worthlessness in fulfilling the plan of God, the Lord directed Jeremiah to get a linen girdle, and put it upon your loins, but not to put it in water (Jeremiah 13:1). Hebrew men wore tunics, long, loose, gown-like garments. In order to hold the tunic close to the body when walking or active, they wore a sash-like belt around the waist called a "girdle." Both Elijah and John the Baptist wore leather girdles (II Kings 1:8; Matthew 3:4). The girdle of white linen worn by the priest represented the close relationship of the Israelites to Jehovah: As the girdle clings to the loins of a man, so I caused the whole House of Israel and the whole House of Judah to cling to Me, says the Lord (Jeremiah 13:11).
Jeremiah was instructed to let this beautiful, white linen girdle become very dirty to impress upon the people how revolting and degrading their conduct was to God. Eventually, the Word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, saying . . . arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. . . . After many days. . . . the girdle was marred, good for nothing (13:3-7). Marred implied that the girdle was badly stained, probably ruined, and unfit for a priest of God to wear. Consequently, the prophet said: Thus says the Lord, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, which refuse to hear My words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing (13:9-10).
The defiled girdle was buried many days until it was unfit for use. Then Jeremiah was instructed to wear the defiled girdle back to Jerusalem to impress the people that they had become unfit servants of the Lord and would be controlled by Babylon, then be in exile (buried) for "many days" -- 70 years to be exact.
From a human perspective, Jeremiah's journey may seem a waste of time and effort, but his unquestioned obedience was evidence of his loyalty to God. His actions illustrated what was to take place and the reason for it.
It must have been shocking to the Israelites to see this prophet/priest wearing such a filthy girdle. It surely made his message impressive, and no doubt it was the subject of much conversation when he returned from Babylon. The Southern Kingdom of Judah had been wonderfully blessed; but, instead of remaining faithful to the Lord, the people gradually drifted away from the Word of God. Consequently, idol worship, with its many evils, permeated the land. It was only after their Temple was destroyed and they were defeated by the Babylonians that the Israelites realized the full meaning of the importance of obedience to the Word of God.
Still today, some Christians, after being blessed with success, have become intent only on satisfying their own self-interests. And, like the Israelites, they have forfeited their God-given privileges. Unfortunately, many will discover too late in life that their earlier opportunities to serve the Lord no longer exist.
To the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness. . . . because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. . . . As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (Revelation 3:14-16,19).
Christ Revealed:
As the Hope of Israel, the Savior of His people . . . in the midst of His people (Jeremiah 14:8-9). Christ is not only the Hope of Israel, but of all mankind. Looking for that blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3). Neither Jews nor Gentiles will have peace until they accept Christ, the King of peace, as their Hope and Savior (Luke 21:24-28).
Word Studies:
11:15 wrought lewdness means done evil things, a hypocrite; the holy flesh is passed from thee means can your sacrifices avert your destruction; 11:23 visitation means judgment; 12:2 reins means heart; 12:13 revenues means harvest; 13:9 mar means ruin; 13:22 skirts discovered . . . heels made bare means fine clothes torn off as you are driven into exile, barefoot and with violence (comp. Nahum 3:5); 14:1 dearth means drought; 14:4 chapt means dried up, parched because of repeated droughts (compare Lev. 26:3-20; Deut. 11:17; 28:23); 14:14 divination means wonder-working words of their own minds.


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Optional Reading:
II Peter 2

Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 1:9

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