Jeremiah 13:1-11 Cling to the Lord
Exposition of the text:
This is a two part passage. First, there are three commands and obedient actions by Jeremiah. Then follows interpretative words from God.
God told Jeremiah to go and buy a linen loincloth (vs1). Then, God told him to go to the Euphrates and hide it in a cleft of the rock. (vs 4). Finally, many days later, God told him to go back to the Euphrates and get the loincloth back. What Jeremiah discovered was that the loincloth was spoiled, and it was good for nothing. (vs 6-7)
This is kind of like Jesus teaching his disciples after telling the crowd a parable. What follows explain the meaning behind what just happened. The story is about the life of Judah and Jerusalem.
The explanation starts in verse 9, “Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.” This explains what Jeremiah found, when he retrieved the loincloth again. The second act of going to the Euphrates and hiding the loincloth is like verse 10, “This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own hearts and have gone after other gods…” This points to the fact that the chosen people of God would rot and be good for nothing apart from the Lord. Lastly, in verse 11, we see God pointing to the first action of Jeremiah buying the loincloth and wearing it around his waist. Just as this word picture, God intended for them to cling to Him and Him alone, because they were to be his people with incredible blessings.
Two mains points of instruction for us here.
First, God teaches us about obedience through Jeremiah. God knows that we have emotions and mental capacity to reason. But many times, God will demand that we obey God in ways that make no sense, without any apparent benefit or success and even make us feel terrible or miserable. Is God cruel? By no means. God knows that we are born corrupt and will do exactly what verse 10 says: refuse to hear, stubbornly follow their own heart, and go astray. God must teach us to trust Him in all situations. Rev 2:10 says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Second, God teaches us about humility. God rebuked them of their pride that refused to obey. Are we not suffering from the same problem of pride? Then, how do we overcome our pride and obey? The answer is here in verse 11. We must cling to God like a little child who won’t let go of her dad, who delights in spending time with him, and who loves to make him happy. The bible says that Moses was the humblest man ever lived in the Old Testament (Numbers 12:3) who was closest to God than any man, other than Jesus.
You see God did not demand great acts of obedience. God demanded that his people cling to him, because that is how we become humble before God and learn to obey.
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