A People for God’s Renown

from Lynda Lindsey

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. Jeremiah 13:6-7

The word of the Lord to Jeremiah: “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 a man’s waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to Me,” declares the Lord, “to be My people for My renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.” Jeremiah 13:9-11

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:23

Imagine it! The Lord God Almighty so loves us that He binds us to Himself as a belt is cinched closely about the waist to secure a garment. Bound tightly to the Lord in intimate fellowship, we are safe, secure, protected, people for God’s own renown! As we unite ourselves with His glorious Presence, ordinary people, sinners all, take on God’s identity; and He receives all glory, honor and prestige. How could it be otherwise? We, in and of our own power or strength, are nothing, but united with Christ, living in obedience to God, we are new creations, remade for His glory!

Jeremiah, at the Lord’s direction, had hidden a linen sash or belt, and then left it to ruin in the dirt and moisture. The belt, upon recovery, was spoiled, completely useless. Something once fine had been rendered profitable for nothing. The decayed belt mirrored the Israelite’s situation. A people and nation once fine, chosen by God to be holy, set aside for His purposes, had through gross neglect and sin, become profitable for nothing. Refusing to hear God’s words, following the evil dictates of their hearts, rejecting God and choosing to serve idols, the people became so corrupt that the noble purpose for which they were created was beyond repair. Refusing God, refusing repentance, ensured certain judgment; Babylon would devour the once resplendent people of God. 

Instead of clinging to God in utter trust, like a little child clinging tightly to his mother’s embrace, God’s people clung pridefully to pagan ways of the nations around them. So great was their depravity, so accustomed were they to sin and wickedness, they could no longer do good, anymore than a man could change the color of his skin or a leopard change its spots. Don’t wait; set aside pride and foolish independence. Return to God in repentance and live, really live, bringing glory to Him! Individually and collectively let us be known as a people for God’s renown!