When I was in school, I took a woodworking class and made a small desk. The desk did not turn out as I had planned. I imagined making something nice with great workmanship. But my design and woodworking skills were not polished and it was more like refrigerator art. Refrigerator art is the art of a young child a parent puts on the refrigerator. It is displayed, not because it is good, but because their child was the artist.
I probably learned more on that woodworking project than any wood project I ever constructed. It was a living object lesson on what to do and what not to do. In our story the Lord gives Jeremiah the prophet an object lesson to convey a Biblical truth to him.
This is what the Lordsaid to me: “Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it on, but do not wash it.” 2 So I bought the loincloth as the Lorddirected me, and I put it on. 3 Then the Lordgave me another message: 4 “Take the linen loincloth you are wearing, and go to the Euphrates River. Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as the Lordhad instructed me. 6 A long time afterward the Lordsaid to me, “Go back to the Euphrates and get the loincloth I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to the Euphrates and dug it out of the hole where I had hidden it. But now it was rotting and falling apart. The loincloth was good for nothing.
8 Then I received this message from theLord: 9 “This is what the Lordsays: This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people refuse to listen to me.They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship othergods. Therefore, they will become like this loincloth—good for nothing! Jeremiah 13:1-8
Jeremiah obediently purchases a loincloth and hides it a hole in the rock at the Euphrates River and sometime later the Lord calls him to dig it back up. When Jeremiah digs up the loincloth it was rotting and falling apart and good for nothing. This is a very interesting illustration from God. The one thing we know about rotting is that it takes time. If Jeremiah would have gone back the next day and retrieved the loincloth there would have been very little damage. But rotting takes time.
Rotting is what has happened to Judah and it can happen to us. Drifting away from the Lord is like a slow fade because a relationship with the Lord needs to be maintained. When this relationship is not maintained, it begins to rot or deteriorate. Part of the consequence of rotting in our relationship with the Lord is not listening. In our story, the word translated “listen” means to listen with the intention to obey. The people in the days of Jeremiah had stopped listening to the Lord and they became wicked, filled with pride, arrogant, and walked in darkness. When I stop listening to the Lord, I begin to drift away from Him.
The good news is when I start listening to the Lord and following Him I come closer to Him. When I listen, it stops the rotting of my relationship with the Creator. When I start to listen to the Lord, He begins to remove the spiritual blockage of my heart. In a sense, the Lord is doing heart surgery.
Do you need spiritual heart surgery today? Take time to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual compass. Remember you can’t do this on your own, but you can do this with the help of Jesus as Paul writes in Philippians 4:13. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
To hear more of Jeremiah’s story, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiahs-belt
If you would like more teaching on Jeremiah listen to these podcasts:
[1, 2]Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation(Jeremiah 13:1-8, Philippians 4:13). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.