Devotional: ‘A Visual Symbol of Their Sin’

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Often people tell me that they are a ‘visual learner.’ By that they mean that they learn more by what they see than by what they hear. It is for that reason that many great Bible teachers try to use object lessons whenever they preach or teach. Though most people will forget the content of a message, they will most likely remember a visual example or illustration.

The Bible is full of many great object lessons such as the one seen in today’s passage.

Jeremiah 13:1 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. 2 So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put it on my loins. 3 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying , 4 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. 5 So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. 6 And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there. 7 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. 8 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 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.

What was God trying to illustrate through this strange object lesson? The linen girdle had two possible explanations.

  • According to Leviticus 16:4, a linen girdle was a part of the attire of a priest. Perhaps the LORD was trying to remind them that He had chosen them out all of the people of the earth and therefore they should have been set apart exclusively unto Him. By burying this linen belt in the mud – Jeremiah was calling attention to how they had fallen into sin.

 

  • Another explanation for the use of the linen girdle was that it was a part of a person’s undergarments. Verse 11 says: “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. The relationship between God and the people of Israel was meant to be sacred and intimate. Yet the Jews defiled this holy relationship with their sinfulness and especially their idolatry.

Too often we forget how special we are to God. In closing consider these words from Peter.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

 

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