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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 13

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Chapter 13

Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go down and buy a linen girdle, and put it on, but don't wash it. So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and I put it on. And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that you have purchased, which you have been wearing, and go to Euphrates, and hide it there under a rock. So I hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from there, which I commanded you to hide. And I went to the river Euphrates, and digged, and I took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing ( Jeremiah 13:1-7 ).

As you can imagine, if you take a linen girdle and put it under a rock and you know, the whole thing when you go back later and get the thing, the bugs have eaten holes in it and the thing is just good for nothing as he said. Now God says, "Put it on and wear it back to the streets again and preach to the people." Now they saw him when he first had this beautiful linen girdle. "Oh wow, look at that." One to draw attention. But now as he wears the thing again, "Yuck, what's he wearing the holey, filthy thing for?" But this was an illustrated sermon.

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel ( Jeremiah 13:8-12 ),

So he goes into the next thing. But the idea with the girdle was that the nation was once bound to God. And as it was bound to God, it was a beautiful thing. A people worshipping God, serving God, bound to God. But when they have turned from God, that which was once beautiful and glorious has become ugly and repulsive. That same nation that once was the glory of the earth, as God's love and blessings were showered upon it, has now become the curse of the earth as they have removed themselves from that place of nearness to God and they've become good for nothing.

There's an interesting book called The Light and the Glory in which they trace the historic roots of the United States and show how that God had a very definite hand in the founding of this nation, even as He did in the founding of the nation of Israel. God's hand was upon the founding fathers. And it's a beautiful book, The Light and the Glory, giving you historic insights to our nation that you don't find in the public textbooks in your school system. Because they don't want you to know the spiritual roots of the nation. They like to hide that from you. But this nation was born of God as a light to the world and God's blessing is upon it. They wrote the song, "America, America, God shed His grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea." And songs that reflected the nation's relationship to God. And men were conscious that it was God that had blessed and made our nation great. But they're trying to hide that truth from the children today. And they're trying to hold up the god of capitalism, free enterprise. And they're saying it's free enterprise that has made us strong. Now fight for free enterprise. Fight for the capitalistic system. They can't inspire me to fight for free enterprise or the capitalistic system. I'll fight for the freedom that we have been given by God to worship Him, to serve Him. I love that.

But it's tragic that we've turned from the basic roots upon which the nation was founded. We were once beautiful before the world. God's blessing was upon our land. But we like the linen girdle are becoming good for nothing in the eyes of the world.

Even in... I was in Canada. I was in a radio talk show in Canada. You'll be amazed at how many called in and were angry at me just because I was from the United States. All of the bitterness that they have towards the U.S. Over in England we found a lot of bitterness just because I'm from the U.S. We were once the glory of the world, but now we're becoming hated throughout the world. We travel in some parts of the world where the people look at you and just spit at you. They don't even know you. But they recognize you as because the way you dress. Nobody dresses like Americans. And they can spot you a mile away. When they get near you they just spit at you, which is an oriental sign of disgust and disdain. Oh, it's sad when a nation turns from God to find its fulfillment and satisfaction in something other than God. Once a beautiful garment.

Now in verse Jeremiah 13:12 , the second thing. Speak this to them, the proverb sort of. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel,

Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they will say unto you, Don't we know that every bottle is going to be filled with wine? ( Jeremiah 13:12 )

Because they were preaching a message of prosperity, two cars in every garage.

Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of the land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. And I will dash them one against another, even as the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive ( Jeremiah 13:13-17 ).

Now Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, and this is one of his references to his weeping. God is giving them a message of warning, "If you won't hear it," then he said, "in the secret place my eye will weep sore and run down with tears." You know, this is an interesting thing. We look at a minister and we're prone to just say, "He's just a hell-fire-damnation, fire-brimstone preacher." And we're prone to just... if a man comes and pronounces the judgment of God that is coming, we're prone to just sort of say, "Ah, he's filled with hatred and everything else." Well, that may be the case in some. But here with Jeremiah, here he's pronouncing the horrible judgment of God but he's weeping. He's not smacking his lips and saying, "Boy, God's going to smack you, brother! Hardly wait." But he's going and weeping over the condition of the people because they will not respond to the message of God.

Say to the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none of them will be open ( Jeremiah 13:18-19 ):

That is, they'll be shut up into a siege.

Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive. Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? What will you say when he will punish you? for you have taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman who is in travail? And if you say in your heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or a leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil ( Jeremiah 13:19-23 ).

No, a man cannot change his nature. Only God can change a man's nature by the Holy Spirit. A leopard can't change his spots. You are what you are by nature. And if you have not received Jesus Christ, you're a sinner by nature. You can't be righteous even though you try. It's impossible. You need a new nature. I don't care. You can take a pig out of the pigsty, give him a bath with deodorant soap, spray him with perfume, put a bow around his neck and let him go and he will go right back to the mud. He'll just roll over and wallow in it. That's his environment. He loves it. That's his nature. Loving to just wallow in the mud. And that's the nature of some people. You can clean them up, give them a new act, and you can say, "Oh, it's their environment, you know. Let's bring them out of that environment and let's clean them up and all." Hey, but it's their nature. Let them go, they'll go right back. You need a change of nature.

That's why Jesus said, "Don't be surprised when I say don't marvel when I say you've got to be born again." That's the answer. A change of nature, that's what's accomplished by the Spirit of God. He changes my nature. People say, "I could never be a Christian. I don't want to be... I don't want to be hypocrite, but I can never live that life." They don't accept the Lord because they say, "I could never do it." Of course you can't do it. And no one expects you to do it. You can't do it apart from the power and the work of the Holy Spirit in giving you a new nature. But God, that's what He does. He gives me a whole new nature. A nature that is after Him.

So God speaks about the fact that a man is what he is by nature. He cannot change except by God's power.

Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passes away by the wind of the wilderness. This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because you have forgotten me ( Jeremiah 13:24-25 ),

This is what's going to happen because you've forgotten me.

and trusted in a lie. Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear. I have seen your adulteries, the neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredoms, and the abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be? ( Jeremiah 13:25-27 ) "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 13". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-13.html. 2014.
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