Arnold, an eight-year-old boy, ran up to the preacher after his sermon on the love of God and said, “I know that God loves everybody but I don’t believe He ever met my sister.”
The truth is that God does love us, even as He loved His people during Jeremiah’s day, but their ungodly ways would have consequences and would bring upon them the discipline of the Lord.
Jeremiah, who prophesied during the time of Judah Alone (about 600 B.C.), was told by God to go buy a girdle (a linen waistband). Jeremiah was to wear this waistband and not to wash it. He was then instructed to hide it in the crevice of the rocks down by the Euphrates River. After many days he was told to retrieve the waistband. Upon doing so, he found it to be totally ruined and worthless (Jeremiah 13). The waistband bound to the prophet represented the close relationship that God desired to have with His people, and indeed the relationship they enjoyed with Him as they followed His word. When Jeremiah placed the waistband in the rocks, it represented how far removed the people were from their God because of their disobedience to His word. In their rebellion they became worthless in regards to the purpose for which they were created. We can fulfill our created purpose as we seek and follow the will of our Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Jeremiah was also told to prophesy to God’s people instructing them to fill every bottle with wine. The people responded saying we know that this is to be done. God then speaks to the prophet saying that this represents the fact that God would cause all their leaders and the citizens of Jerusalem to be filled with drunkenness. Like those in a drunken stupor they would stumble about as if in darkness. Only in the soberness of God’s righteous truth could they correct the path they were on and avoid the judgment that was coming.
It is not within ourselves that truth originates but from our God who has created us. If we let God’s word direct us we shall walk in the light and His righteousness shall be restored in the land (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:34).
History of course tells us that Judah failed to heed the words of Jeremiah and they were carried off into exile by the Babylonians for seventy years. So much was lost and so much was suffered simply because God’s covenant was rejected. God loved them and had blessed them tremendously, yet there was rottenness in the land of their own making and land itself would spew them out (Leviticus 18:28). We only destroy ourselves and the very land we live in with our immorality, murders, thefts, slander, disrespect of parents and injustice to the poor, and to the widows and the orphans within our midst.
Hope is only found in a contrite and humble heart before God.
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