Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse
Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages
“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!” ~Jeremiah 13:10
God conceives a pretty spectacular object lesson for one of Jeremiah’s sermon. He sends the prophet to a nearby wadi (a desert stream) to bury his linen belt. Linen sashes were an Israelite clothing accent that also served a practical purpose—the sash held a loose outer garment close to the body. Rain and silt would ruin the belt in a few weeks time, whereupon Jeremiah could dig it up and wear it to his next sermon (or, possibly, go without a belt while holding the tattered one for all to see). Jeremiah’s message is simple: You once wrapped yourself around your God, and it was a beautiful thing for everyone to see. Now, you are longer bound to your God, and you are ruined, your beauty gone. He has no choice but to throw you out (Jer. 13:1-11)!
Jeremiah’s vivid preaching angers the people, and so they conspire to have him killed. A group of people meet in secret to plot ways to get rid of the annoying messenger of the Lord, but God delivers Jeremiah (although he doesn’t explain how). The prophet’s enemies are undeterred. God warns him that his recent close call is nothing compared to what is to come. “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” More plots will follow organized by men with even greater determination. Even Jeremiah’s own family will try to silence him. “Your brothers, your own family—even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you; Do not trust them, though they speak well of you [in your hearing]” (Jer. 12:6).
Jeremiah’s experience is a lesson for all who dare to do what is right in a world where everyone is doing their own thing. He faced difficulties and we will too. The prophet’s reaction is also a lesson to us. He continued to do what God called him to do. “To you (God) I have committed my cause,” he said (Jer. 11:20). He had to trust God while doing the right thing, even if that meant that part of God’s plan was for him to die. I’m sure it was difficult. There were times he was discouraged and frightened. He kept on anyway.
John Wayne is quoted as saying, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” I want to be like Jeremiah and John Wayne. I want to wisely and courageously face difficulty, knowing that there is danger, and carry on because my cause is committed to God.