I was reading recently in Jeremiah and I ran across this interesting experience/experiment that the Lord gave to Jeremiah as an object lesson for his preaching.

Thus saith the Lord unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water.
So I got a girdle according to the word of the Lord, and put it on my loins.
And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying,
Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock.
So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the Lordcommanded me.
And it came to pass after many days, that the Lordsaid unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there.
Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.
Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Thus saith the Lord, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.
10 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.
11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. (Jeremiah 13:1-11)

Basically the Lord told Jeremiah to get a linen girdle (or belt) and wear it and take care of it carefully.  Then, after some time, the Lord told Jeremiah to take the linen girdle, go to the Euphrates river and hide it in a hole somewhere. Jeremiah obeyed and buried it.  Then after more time had passed, the Lord told him to go back and retrieve the linen girdle again.  So he does.  And he finds the girdle is ruined and can’t be used anymore.

(Linen is a cloth made out of flax fibers, so if it is buried in a wet environment among lots of soil microbes and bacteria, it will begin to decompose like any other plant matter.)

The Lord tells Jeremiah that the pride of his people is going to be ruined just like the girdle was ruined.  He also says that just like Jeremiah had that girdle tied on him, the Lord had tied the house of Israel to him, but they chose to forsake him, so they will be ruined.

I think this experiment is a great lesson about the results of pride and rebellion.  When we’re humble, and follow the Lord, we’re attached to him just like a belt.  We’re not fancy ourselves, but we make the Lord look good.

But as soon as we stop listening and following, imagining that we are all that and a bag of chips, thinking we can worship other gods (or let our priorities get messed up), it is as if we untie ourselves, drop off, and bury ourselves in a muddy pit, and we begin to decay.

This resonated with me recently because I’ve noticed pride and vain imaginations in myself that have kept me from listening as I should.  It is very helpful for me to see that pride and rebellion make me decay and make me good for nothing.  I don’t want to be like that.  My vain imaginations don’t do me any good because they don’t tell me what good thing I must do next; they only tell me I’m fine how I am and that gets in the way of me changing for the better.   

Continue reading at the original source →