SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Today’s chapter opens with God instructing the prophet Jeremiah to buy a belt and then hide it. When the belt is later retrieved, it is rotted and useless. God says that just like the belt was designed to cling to the waist of the one who owns it, the people of Israel were created to cling to God. Because of their pride, their desire to follow their own path, and their worshipping of other gods (also known as “idolatry”), the Israelites will be ruined.
- The second illustration God utilizes is wineskins (which was a vessel to hold wine). The people are incredulous that Jeremiah would tell them every wineskin would be filled with wine – duh! In this example, however, the bottles represent all the people and the wine symbolizes God’s anger. And Jeremiah explains that because of their sins, the Israelites have made themselves the vessels that will be filled with the wrath of God just as a bottle is filled with wine.
- The passage ends similar to previous chapters of Jeremiah with God offering the people of Israel the chance to repent (to ask for forgiveness) and to return to following the Lord’s ways. If they do not, God is clear about the ruin and destruction that will fall upon the Israelites because of their own actions.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The people of Israel were chosen by God to be His people, to stay attached to Him and have a life of abundance and blessing. Instead, for generations, the Israelites put pride above God. They believed they could follow their own path and stubbornly refused to listen to God.
- God’s anger is never unjustified. God is kind and forgiving, He is constantly offering His forgiveness to those who admit their sins and turn to Him. He gave the Israelites a multitude of chances to repent over generations and because they did not, they aroused the wrath of God and would bring about their own destruction.
- The bottles represent all the people, and the wine represents the wrath of God. The intoxication of all the people, rendering them helpless against all their enemies, indicated the certainty of God's impending punishment for the people's headstrong continuation in their licentious idolatry.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- What type of pride are you carrying with you today? Pride can manifest itself in many ways. It may be looking down on others, being selfish with your resources, forcing your solution on another person, thinking God is blessing you because you have earned it, or being content with your own plans instead of seeking God’s plans.
- Sometimes it can be difficult to identify the pride we carry in ourselves. Can you meet with someone who knows you well and ask them to honestly share with you an area of pridefulness in your life? Today, pray to God and ask Him to humble your heart and show you how to appreciate the way He provides for you.