Our ‘PRIDE’ will ‘RUIN’ us from fulfilling God’s PURPOSES: Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Thus says the Lord: 'In this manner I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing. For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,' says the Lord, 'that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.' (Jer. 13:8-11)
The linen sash is the first of the symbolic acts used to convey God’s word to the people through Jeremiah. Linen was the material used for priestly garments (Exodus 28:42; Ezekiel 44:17, 18) and symbolizes Israel as a holy people, a “kingdom of priests” (see Exodus 19:6). The sash, as an emblem of Israel, speaks of the intimate relationship of God to His covenant people (v. 11).
The hiding and finding of the sash was a symbolic lesson to Judah. Symbolic of Judah’s sinful pride, the sash was not to be washed. However, just as the sash got ruined because of water contamination and became unprofitable, so would the “pride of Judah” and the “great pride of Jerusalem” also became unprofitable (v. 9). Just as the sash was ruined, so the pride of God’s people had ruined them in terms of fulfilling God’s purpose. Their evil ways had made them “profitable for nothing” (13:10). Judah had spoiled her relationship with God by contamination with Assyria!
The linen sash was especially appropriate as a symbol for proud Judah. Linen was a costly material (Isaiah 3:23), often imported from Egypt (Proverbs 7:16). The Israelites generally reserved its use for making exquisite furnishings, such as those in the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1, 31, 36), and fine garments, such as those worn by the priests (28:39) or a favored person (Esther 8:15; Ezekiel 16:10, 13).
The linen sash symbolized the close relationship between God and His people. Its ruin depicts the corruption of the people, no longer fit for a relationship with the Lord. The Lord cautioned Jeremiah to avoid letting his linen sash get wet (Jeremiah 13:1). To do so would have caused the waste of fine material. Yet later, God instructed the prophet to hide the sash along the Euphrates River (13:4) so that the waters could rot the belt over time. This made it into a powerful image of what Judah looked like—a people intended for worthy, noble purposes, but now worthless and rotten because of sinful pride.
Let us realize that God’s expects us to fulfill His purposes in our lives as well. In order to do that we have to humble ourselves and draw near to God and learn from Him. However, it is possible that our inner pride will lead us to trust our skills, talents and resources rather than God that will cause us to walk in our own ways. When we do that, we are ruined and incapable in fulfilling God’s purposes for us. Today let us examine our hearts to check if any self-pride is preventing us from fulfilling God’s purposes upon this earth!