Verse 1 – 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.”
A linen belt was one of the more intimate pieces of clothing clinging close to the body. It was like underwear. Jeremiah’s action showed how God would ruin Judah just as Jeremiah had ruined the linen belt.
Verse 2 – So I got a sash according to the word of the Lord, and put it around my waist.
Verse 3 – And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying,
Verse 4 – “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.”
Verse 5 – So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.
This place where God told Jeremiah to go hide the sash was 350 miles northeast of Anathoth. Round trip, it would be 700 miles that Jeremiah had to travel. This was no easy feat to accomplish. Has God ever told you something that looked impossible to accomplish? If He tells you to do it, He must know that you are able to finish it.
Verse 6 – And 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.”
Many days represented the 70 years the Israelites would be in captivity in Babylon. He had to travel the 350 miles again and then come back to Anathoth.
Verse 7 – Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and took the sash from the place where I had hidden it; and there was the sash, ruined. It was profitable for nothing.
Verse 8 – The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 9 – “Thus says the Lord: ‘In this manner I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.
Proud people may look important, but God says their pride makes them good for nothing, completely useless. Pride rots the heart.
Verse 10 – This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing.
Verse 11 – ‘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!
Israel had been set apart , chosen, that in and by them the Holy Spirit might work for the salvation of mankind.
Verse 12 – “Therefore you shall speak to them this word: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Every bottle shall be filled with wine.” And they will say to you, ‘Do we not certainly know that every bottle will be filled with wine?’
Verse 13 – “Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land-even the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem-with drunkenness!
God had Jeremiah announce a common proverb: Every jar should be filled with wine. The people’s reply: “Why of course, what do you think those jars are for anyway?” But this metaphor meant that the people themselves were earthen jars that should be filled with drunkenness from the wine – God’s wrath. This included from the top of society to the bottom.
Verse 14 – “And I will dash them one against the another, even the fathers and the sons together,” say the Lord. “I will not pity nor spare nor have mercy, but will destroy them.” ‘ ”
Verse 15 – Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, for the Lord has spoken.
Judah was guilty of self-exaltation, haughtiness and high-mindedness. When is pride harmful? When it causes us to be: (1) arrogant, (2) look down on others, (3) be selfish with our resources, (4) think God is blessing us because of our good deeds.
Verse 16 – Give glory to the Lord your God before He causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it dense darkness.
Judah was depicted as a weary traveler stumbling around in the dark. They refused to admit they were sinning; they refused to humble themselves under God, so it was only going to get darker for them.
Verse 17 – But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.
Who comforts God when He is grieved? We comfort one another by being there, kind words, and hugs, but who comforts God?
Verse 18 – Say to the king and to the queen mother “Humble yourselves; sit down, for your rule shall collapse, the crown of your glory.”
The king was Jehoiachin, and the queen mother was Nehushta. Jehoiachin was only 18 when he began to reign as king, so his mother probably inserted her influence. Neither were receptive to Jeremiah’s warnings. In 597 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar took them to Babylon-captive. Jeremiah’s prophecy came true – they lost the crown.
Verse 19 – The cities of the south shall be shut up, and no one shall open them; Judah shall be carried away captive, all of it; it shall be wholly carried away captive.
Verse 20 – Lift up your eyes and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was given to you, your beautiful sheep?
Verse 21 – What will you say when He punishes you? For you have taught them to be chieftains, to be head over you. Will not pangs seize you, like a woman in labor?
Verse 22 – And if you say in your heart, “Why have these things come upon me?” For the greatness of your iniquity your skirts have been uncovered, your heels made bare.
Judah was about to be humiliated. They would be taken captive by the Babylonians and be treated as slaves – barefoot!
Verse 23 – Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.
Not even the threat of captivity could move the people to repent. We too can have attitudes and life-styles that become so set that we lose all desire to change and will no longer fear the consequences.
Verse 24 – “Therefore I will scatter them like stubble that passes away by the wind of the wilderness.
Verse 25 – This is your lot, the portion of your measures from Me, ” says the Lord, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and trusted in falsehood.
The falsehood and the lie, was trusting in the pagan god Baal.
Verse 26 – Therefore I will uncover your skirts over your face, that your shame may appear.
Verse 27 – I have seen your adulteries and your lustful neighing, the lewdness of your harlotry, your abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Will you still not be made clean?”
These verses describe the sexual lewdness of Judah’s wickedness; adulteries, lustful neighing, and prostitution. The people practiced these acts out in the open, going after the Canaanite gods.