It is always interesting to see how God uses an object to illustrate a lesson He wants us to remember. In Jeremiah 13:1-11, God told Jeremiah to buy a linen belt, wrap it around his waist and not let it touch water. Jeremiah obeyed God. Later, God directed Jeremiah to take the belt and bury it in the crevice of the rocks. Several days after that God told Jeremiah to retrieve the belt – it was ruined and useless. Then God said,
In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt – completely useless! (vs. 9-10)
God’s use for the Israelites was to have them bound to Himself for His renown and praise and worship (vs. 11), but because they refused to listen, God would have to punish them for their sinfulness.
We sometimes can become like the Israelites when we open the door to pride, disobedience, stubbornness, selfishness and idolatry. These pitfalls could affect our usefulness in caring for and ministering to others. That is why it is so critical to examine our hearts before the Lord each day, asking Him to help us to be humble, obedient and selfless servants for Him.
Question to think about: What might you do to avoid the pitfalls of the Israelites?