I am undone
by the unfolding of this...
Thus the Lord said to me:
“Go and get yourself a linen sash,
and put it around your waist,
but do not put it in water.”
So I got a sash
according to the word of the Lord,
and put it around my waist.
Jeremiah 13:1-2 NKJV
Now had I been Jeremiah,
I'm gonna say,
I'd probably want to just stop,
shake my head a bit,
look up at God, and ask why.
It's just my nature,
my wondering way,
my curious need for purpose
in the task.
But this prophet, Jeremiah did not.
He was simply obedient
even without understanding.
God told him to get a sash.
So he got one.
Similar to that of a priest of the day,
and began to wear it for the Lord.
And the word of the Lord
came to me the second time,
saying, “Take the sash
that you acquired,
which is around your waist, and arise,
go to the Euphrates,
and hide it there in a hole in the rock.”
So I went and hid it by the Euphrates,
as the Lord commanded me.
Again, sheer obedience
without delay, without question.
He had not gotten it wet before,
in order to keep it clean;
this linen fabric more pure.
But once wet,
the weave would loosen,
losing it's pristeen shape and color.
And now it was to be hidden
in a place where water
of this river could wash over it...
possibly caught up,
unable to move freely.
And who knows how long
between commands Jeremiah
must have waited,
must have wondered,
What is next...
Clearly, he was a better prophet
than I would have ever made.
Now it came to pass after many days
that the Lord said to me,
"Arise, go to the Euphrates,
and take from there the sash
which I commanded you to hide there.”
Then I went to the Euphrates
and dug, and I took the sash
from the place where I had hidden it;
and there was the sash, ruined.
It was profitable for nothing.
Honestly, at this point...
I expected more.
I mean, maybe a miracle of sorts.
Or a next place to take the sash.
Even a scavenger hunt,
for a new place to hide it.
Or possibly a special purpose...
like the sash was to save the day.
I know it's silly, maybe I've watched
too many "James Bond" sort of scenes.
But I pictured Jeremiah needing it and
pulling it out at some... just right time.
just a rotting sash sort of thing?
...ruined. profitable for nothing.
This is what began to overwhelm me.
And as I continued to read,
it honestly left me heart broken.
Then the word of the Lord
came to me, saying,
“Thus says the Lord:
‘In this manner I will ruin
the pride of Judah and
the great pride of Jerusalem.
This evil people, who refuse
to hear My words,
who follow the dictates of their hearts,
and walk after other gods
to serve them and worship them,
shall be just like this sash
which is profitable for nothing.
For as the sash clings to the waist of a man,
so I have caused the whole house of Israel
and the whole house of Judah
to cling to Me,’ says the Lord,
‘that they may become My people,
for renown, for praise, and for glory;
but they would not hear.’
As I read, my heart sank,
my stomach dropped,
my thoughts were heavy
upon that very last line.
I am not certain
that I have felt this way
in quite a long time
over such a passage of text.
What lengths God went to...
this obedient prophet followed
in order to give this visual,
this lesson so graphic
that I can see it in my mind's eye.
This linen sash that would have clung
proudly around Jeremiah's waist
when it was a fresh white, clean cloth.
And as he stood over the rocks
at the edge of the Euphrates,
he must have wondered just where
to hide it, untying it from his waist.
He must have marked it
in order to remember it's spot,
Maybe anchored it with a heavy rock,
that it not loosen from it's place,
floating away downstream.
And when he returned,
surely the edges frayed,
the fabric worn away in places.
Soiled and marked by the muddy banks
which ebbed and flowed by the way.
And the Lord says this is our pride
when we choose our own way.
Yes, He spoke it over Israel and Judah...
but I realize that this too,
is meant for my heart as well.
For how much have we, as humans
really changed since the beginning of time?
Still prideful, flawed, seeking our own way.
Looking to be paraded around
while tied onto our God.
Especially on Sunday mornings
when we are pleased to be so.
But then the jumping off, hiding out,
burying ourselves in our own sort of
refreshing, exciting, river rushing ride.
Elsewhere, our own way, hiding if we must
beneath the surface of our selfish ways,
where no one really knows
the judgments of our heart.
But He knows
when we cling
when we obey
when we choose Him...
For this was the choice given long ago,
to Israel, rescued just out of Egypt.
A simple sounding choice, it seems.
Life or Death?
One with even an arrow pointing
directly at the best answer!
If only we will look back,
we would see how much
He still desires us to CLING,
I call heaven and earth
as witnesses today against you,
that I have set before you
life and death,
blessing and cursing;
therefore CHOOSE LIFE,
that both you and
your descendants may live;
that you may love the Lord your God,
that you may obey His voice, and
that you may CLING to Him,
for He is your life and
the length of your days;
and that you may dwell in the land
which the Lord swore to your fathers,
to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
to give them.”
The Lord still longs that we CLING
first and only to Him.
For He has always been enough.
And He has always given us a choice.
Word of God
train me today...
To limit my pride for boasting only in You.
To cling to the Lord only,
letting go of all else.
Lord, help me to CLING...
remaining in You,
as Your words CLING...
remaining in me.
Lift me up,
loosen me from this
stuck place beneath,
where I cannot
catch my breath
for the rush of river,
the heaviness that holds.
Rescue me from
Tie me on once again,
that I might cling
only to You.
Not to be seen,
but rather to know You more.
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