‘’You were not made for time and for passing things, but for God and eternity, and to have your heart filled with God and with things eternal.’’ Tersteegen.
‘’Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’’ Westminster Shorter Catechism.
The ‘’linen belt’’ was probably a kind of undergarment worn next to the skin. No other clothing on a man would be closer to him. God had brought the nation close to Himself, but as the belt became ‘’ruined and completely useless’’ (7b) as it was put away from its owner, so the people of Judah and Jerusalem were ruined by pride. They would not listen to God (10, 11). When they were ‘’bound’’ close to God they were fulfilling their destiny. But then pride intervened and became their downfall. It will take anyone down (Proverbs 16:18; 29:23; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
Here are some interesting quotes on today’s passage:
‘’The linen belt (verse 1) represented the close relationship between God and His people. Just as the linen belt was ruined, so will the people’s relationship with God be ruined…Instead of clinging to God like a belt, the people abandoned God and thus hastened the day of their own ruin.’’ Tom Hale: ‘The applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1095.
‘’As long as the people clung to God in humble obedience, He was glorified. When they defiled themselves in pride, they became useless…’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.506.
‘’Perath was probably a place not far from Anathoth, the prophet’s home…the Name Perath, however, also means the Euphrates, and the sign makes a connection, therefore, with the empires of Mesopotamia. The reference might be to Judah’s acceptance of Assyrian religion, as much as the threat of exile in Babylon. (Exile, in fact, would have a restoring, rather than ruinous, effect; 24:5-7). The many days of v.6 would then refer to the long period of Israel’s and Judah’s persistence in sin (cf.v.10). This sin was itself, inevitably, the cause of their ruin.’’ Gordon McConville: ‘New Bible Commentary’, p.684.
The message seems to be, then, stay close to God in humble obedience to whatever He tells you. Usefulness will only be found in closeness to God. Get away from Him and you become dirty and spoiled; a ruined child! The way to stay close to God is by humbly listening to His Word and submitting to it. It’s interesting that Jeremiah himself exemplified this intimacy with God. Listen to his own words in response to God’s: ‘’Go and buy…So I bought…Take the belt…and hide it…So I went and hid it…Go now…So I went…’’ (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7). Amidst widespread spiritual declension, Jeremiah remained close to God: he listened, he submitted, he obeyed.
Thought: You can’t live for His praise whilst trying to live in your pride.
‘’Do whatever he tells you.’’ (John 2:5).
Prayer: Lord, I want to be that humble person, who listen to you and does what you say. But I often feel my heart drawn in the opposite direction. So I cry to you, once again, and ask you to help me be true. Have mercy on me, O God. I need you.