Lord, thank You that in judgment You remember mercy. Let me walk in grace and also in truth.
Read: Jeremiah 13:1-17
 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.”  So I bought a belt, as the LORD directed, and put it around my waist.  Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time: “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.”  So I went and hid it at Perath, as the LORD told me.  Many days later the LORD said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.”  So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless. Then the word of the LORD came to me:  “This is what the LORD says: ‘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!  For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the LORD, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’  “Say to them: ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’  then tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem.  I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the LORD. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.'”  Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken.  Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness,before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.  If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be taken captive.
Reflect: What does the imagery of the passage symbolize?
Many summers ago I visited Edinburgh during that city’s annual international festival. Near the railway station a couple faced each other, gesticulating wildly and speaking Italian. A large crowd had gathered around them, believing this to be excellent street theater. They turned out to be a married couple who were having a disagreement, and were somewhat surprised by their audience. Their actions were misunderstood. Their very public disagreement captivated the crowd.
Jeremiah’s task is strange and discreet. Burying an expensive clothing accessory, in a distant river in Egypt, is odd (4). This is prophetic drama but without a crowd. The narrative takes place in silence. Created for exclusive intimacy with God, Israel is now good for nothing (10,11). Instead of clinging to him they have clung to others. It’s over. God will not share his glory or indeed his people with other gods.
Eventually this hidden and enigmatic act will be made public to a dismayed nation. And Jeremiah will weep bitterly over the message he must deliver (17).
Consider how you would respond if God called you to bring a message like this. Speak truth where you are.
Father, may Your church walk in faithfulness to You. Help me to be faithful.