The Lord’s own people were selective hearers when He spoke to them the most important words of correction. They simply would not listen, so in the days of Jeremiah, the curse of the covenant was swiftly coming upon them. God’s assessment of His chosen ones: “My people are good for nothing.”
Jeremiah acted out this word of judgment by purchasing a loincloth and then hiding it near the Euphrates River for many days according to the Lord’s instruction. When he was told to go and dig it up again, it was completely spoiled. What a sad parable for the people of God. They were ruined and useless.
They should have stayed so close to Him, but they would not. They had been interested in religion, but not in the real God. Jehovah had formed them, provided for them, rescued them on so many occasions, and condescended to speak to them over and over again. As the time for the exile drew near, they were very willing to worship foreign gods, but they would not listen to their Lord.
A drunken man may be quite insensible to the seriousness of danger all around him. God said, “I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” They would be filled with their own pride, thinking that they would not face the discipline of the Almighty. He would take action against them by bringing enemies from the north.
They needed to turn toward Jehovah and be rescued. Instead, the day of disaster would come upon them suddenly and there would be no way out. Like a “woman in labor,” they would not be able to stop the frightening pain.
The issues among the Lord’s elect were very deep. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” God’s people were steeped in their own rebellious habits. They had behaved like the worst lewd woman. “I have seen your abominations, … your lewd whorings, on the hills in the field.” There was no excuse for their unfaithfulness and no particular hope that they would ever be able to change.
The Lord would never relax the requirements of His holy Law. His people needed perfect obedience to enjoy eternal fellowship with Him. They required the deepest cleansing and renewal to live in His presence. This could only have come through a Savior. Through Christ alone, those who had been given the awful name of “whore,” would one day be called a glorious bride.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of History and Redemption, You have sent forth Your prophets to show clearly the uselessness of a worldly church. We have become a spoiled piece of despised clothing, for You will destroy the pride of Your people. We should cling to You, but we have not listened. Fill us with Your Spirit, and take away our foolish drunkenness. Make us to be men, O God, holy saints who are dedicated to You. Take away our stumbling. Free Your flock from the captivity of sin. Remove those who lead us toward the devil and are hardened in their rebellion. Do not cast us all away, like chaff in the desert. You have seen the moral filth of our sins, but Your Son has become a sin offering for us. He took our wretchedness upon Himself for the glory of Your name, to the praise of Your wonderful mercy.