PRIDE BEFORE A FALL
Take time to be quiet before God. Ask him to show you what grieves him as he looks at our world today.
Read Jeremiah 13:1–17
A Linen Belt
13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: 4 “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.
6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 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.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 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! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’
12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’”
Threat of Captivity
15 Hear and pay attention,
do not be arrogant,
for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
but he will turn it to utter darkness
and change it to deep gloom.
17 If you do not listen,
I will weep in secret
because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
overflowing with tears,
because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectImagine a very special piece of clothing that you own. Would you deliberately bury it in a muddy hole? Of course not!
That is exactly what God asks Jeremiah to do (4). That linen belt was of the very best quality—the kind worn by the priests in the Temple (Lev. 16:4). God wanted Jeremiah to wear it (so others would see it) and look after it carefully (1,2).
Then, he is sent to bury it in a dirty hole far away (4,5)! Perath may have signified the Euphrates—perhaps a location suggesting the coming of the Babylonian conquerors. The belt was ruined (7). Jeremiah’s message? Like this belt, God had held his people close to him, and was proud of them (11). Now, the relationship was spoiled.
This was no joking matter. The word for wineskins (or “jar”) and “fool” are similar (12). Ironic wordplay could have made Jeremiah’s words sound like “every fool gets drunk”! The people’s response suggests that they weren’t taking God’s Word seriously. His judgment would be the result (14). The pride of thinking you know better than God comes before a fall (15,16). This isn’t easy reading. But notice God’s secret tears as he watches the downfall of his much-loved people (17).
How is your relationship with God? Is he a last resort for what you want? Or is he your loving Father whose directions you delight to follow? Observe your choices today and make changes accordingly.
Lord God, forgive my pride. Help me to listen and obey.