Jeremiah 13 has God giving our prophet two signs and their prophetic meaning. The first revolves around a linen sash that God asked Jeremiah to go get, and then hide it near the Euphrates river which was a long journey from where he was. He hid it and then went back to retrieve it only to find it was worthless. “Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the loincloth was spoiled; it was good for nothing”. The lesson was how the sash had deteriorated in the dirt and the moisture. It still existed, but it was ruined and good for nothing.
Prophetically, it was a picture of what was to come in Judah and Jerusalem being taken from their homes in captivity, thus ruining the prideful and hard hearts and plans of His people. “This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing”. Their choices to follow other Gods and to refuse to listen to God’s words were going to cost them dearly, which it did as they were carried off to captivity.
But if that wasn’t a strong enough message, God gives Jeremiah another picture involving a wine bottle. God says the “every jar shall be filled with wine” which represented the fact that everything fulfills its purpose. God’s people had the opportunity to fulfill their purpose of worshipping and glorifying God, but they chose to be rebellious and were destined to destruction. What God expects was clear. “Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness”. And the warning of God’s pending judgment is clear too. They have to change.
But God’s people were stubborn and stupid. They refuse to follow God’s law and requirements. They choose to do the wrong thing. We might pretend like we don’t know or can’t hear God’s direction, but that excuse won’t cut it. It is clear that we are to put God on the throne and give Him the glory, not focus on self. We have to confess our sin and repent. The people refused and God warns of the coming punishment. “I have seen your abominations, your adulteries and neighings, your lewd whorings, on the hills in the field”. God isn’t mocked, and He doesn’t miss anything. He sees clearly what we do. There is a price for sin. That was true in Jeremiah’s time, and it is true today. Thankfully Jesus went to the Cross to offer us a way to pay for that penalty – the grace of His shed blood that is available to cover our sin. But we have to receive that gift. We have to make it our own.