Jeremiah’s Request

Open Your Bible

Jeremiah 13:1-27, Jeremiah 14:1-22, Psalm 25:7, 2 Peter 2:1-3

I just couldn’t get past the dirty underwear in today’s reading. I kept trying to be a grownup, and look for the big picture to find the deeper meaning. But picturing a venerable and vulnerable Jeremiah wedging underwear between rocks down by the river is a tough image to get past. I looked for other translations for the underwear and found: linen belt, loincloth, waistband, sash, girdle, undergarment, and linen shorts.

Now, I love a breathable fabric just as much as anyone, but no matter how you slice it, it’s an intimate garment that’s been trashed. And it’s a metaphor for how the Lord has brought His people close and they turned out to be of no use, and rather an embarrassment, actually (Jeremiah 13:8–11). They’d refused to obey, fought among themselves, and had become proud, forgetting the Lord and trusting in lies instead (v.25). This is a picture of a people who have failed to heed the Lord’s warning to listen to Him in humility, confess their transgressions, and cry out for mercy (Jeremiah 13:15;14:7). The people of Judah had run after the idolatries of the world, rather than the treasures of the kingdom.

It’s a short step to confess that I am guilty of these same sins. All our hearts are idol factories, turning our gaze and affection toward lesser things. Apart from the tender mercies and the arresting grace of God, we will go the way of Israel and Judah, for even our very finest righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

The startling realization that we are a little like dirty underwear down by the river is the first step to healing. The Lord invites His people to confess their sins and put on the clean garment of His salvation (1 John 1:9). We are called to recognize with David and with Paul that “all have turned away; all alike have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:12). But we are not invited to sit and fixate on the filthiness and neediness of humanity. Instead, like Jeremiah, we are to cry out, “Are you not the LORD our God? We therefore put our hope in you” (Jeremiah 14:22).

Hope! We are called to put our hope in the Lord. This was such good news for Judah because they were certainly in a centuries-long snit of their own making. And this is beautiful news for us, too, because we are guilty of the same embarrassing rejections of God’s goodness and kindness toward us. This peculiar passage echoes that same gospel that the prophet Isaiah declared: “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished him for the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Though the first note of the gospel is our great guilt, the final note is one of resounding hope, and of praise for the undeserved lovingkindness God shows us.

Rebecca Faires loves the gospel story and needs it every morning when she wakes up to her six little people. Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in German from Hillsdale College, and most recently worked as the managing editor and writer at She Reads Truth. She now works from her log cabin in the hills of Tennessee, writing and illustrating books with her favorite mountain man. There she enjoys porch-sitting as it rains, reading the Oxford English Dictionary, and getting in way over her head. Her first book, The Book of Comforts: Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times, was released in March 2019.

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48 thoughts on "Jeremiah’s Request"

  1. Lisa Misenhimer says:

    Are you not the Lord my God? Therefore I put my hope in you. Amen.

  2. Elizabeth Zettle says:

    Our hope is in you, Lord!!

  3. Hilary Voigt says:

    Lord, you are our great hope.

  4. Susan Crosby says:

    Isaiah 64:6 is the verse that I am confronted with whenever I get an attitude of self righteousness. My finest righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord. Grateful that God shows mercy towards my unrighteousness.

  5. Stephie Gray says:

    I have so many sins. No matter what I try to do to be better, I continue to sin. I know I’m a mess and I don’t deserve the Lords kindness, but He loves me anyways. I put my hope in Him.

  6. Melissa Mcronney says:


  7. Jordan Smith says:

    A. D hmm

  8. Erin R. says:

    I truly appreciate you acknowledging the underwear.
    But also, what a humbling perspective, “The startling realization that we are a little like dirty underwear down by the river is the first step to healing.” Knocked me down a notch, which I needed!

  9. Parasa says:

    God please lead me in your way. Help me to depend on you.

  10. Melissa Sandoval says:

    I must admit I have struggled with Jeremiah and what it means as we look toward the cross. It’s not warm and fuzzy bible stories! Taster reading today it hit me…..When I close my bible and walk out in the world am I offering “lip service” to God and leaving him there in the book or am I walking with Him!?!

    I’ve been leaving Him at home a lot lately and making myself comfortable in this world with false comforts! That has to stop! The world doesn’t offer anything more than heartache and destruction! My joy is in the Lord!

    I am so grateful that the Lord our God does not leave us like we do to Him! He is there waiting for me every time I walk away or when I’m half in half out! He’s always all in!

    Thank you a lord for your faithfulness!

  11. Angel Santos says:

    For me, some things were hard to read when God talked about what He would do the the people but I also saw how they had turned away from Him.

    The beauty I saw was in what God’s desire is, His desire is for us to cling to Him and knowing that makes me feel so loved. It makes me want to do what’s right, not to avoid punishment but to show the love back to Him that He had when He sent His son to die for us.

  12. Dorothy says:

    “We set our hope on You, For it is You who do all things,” Jeremiah 14:22. “We are called to put our hope in the Lord.” Hope is a large part of how many people live. I believe that my faith in God and that Christ died for my sins allows me to have the hope and faith that my sins are forgiven. Also, that when it’s time for me to leave my earthly body that I will join God in heaven with my son, parents and many other loved ones. I don’t want be like Rebecca said of the people of Judah. “The people of Judah had run after the idolatries of the world, rather than the treasures of the kingdom.”

  13. Kyah Collins says:

    These last couple of days reading, I keep thinking to myself “okay God, I get it, can we move on now?” & then it hit me. I need this reminder daily. No matter how redundant because I so easily forget.

  14. Jerie Sagely says:

    Reminds me of Ephesians 4:22-24, “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” How am I dressed today?

  15. Ashley White says:


  16. Katarina Santiago says:

    Hope that is something I have been struggling to hold on to lately but it is such a clear picture we are filthy dirty rags that God has cleaned and given us a new future and hope. Thank you lord that you never give up on me.

  17. Helena Rose says:

    THANK YOU for talking about the dirty underwear and not gliding past that weird imagery! The Bible is WEIRD and the more we try to say it’s not or that we just have to accept it was a different time the less I think we can connect. So thank you for leaning and digging into it instead of gliding past it!!

  18. Mari V says:

    Lord, help me to take the eyes off myself and my needs and wants and put them on “others”. Enough of myself! I am so grateful for the “others“ who have been there for me. It’s time to be there for others.

  19. Rebekah C says:

    Jeremiah has never been my favorite book, every time I’ve read it, I see the American church and I see the USA as Israel and Babylon.

    When will people on Sunday stop doing church and become the church? When will the elderly’s needs and voices be heard? When will we care for those who are poor?

    When will stop pretending that we know the people we greet for a few minutes each week?

    We are literally each week sitting next to strangers as we listen to a person speak from the front whom we have never had a meal with. Does not scripture say to welcome the stranger among you and are we not strangers to each other within the church?

    This is because many are strangers to God.

    Like Jeremiah’s loincloth, many people don’t want to be washed with water, but hang around Jesus and then abandon God altogether for some place where they are exposed to all sorts of conditions and become useless. Worn out, tired, torn, dirty, and gross.

    You can only love people as much as God shows you love.

    Do your thoughts rush to God and His goodness and recount the friendship you have with Him or are your thoughts pre-occupied with binging a show, entertainment, and following digital idols?

    What does it mean to love God? To be a friend to God? And like this question, what does it mean to love others?

    1 John 4:7-21 NET
    [7] Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. [8] The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. [9] By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. [10] In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. [11] Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. [12] No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. [13] By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. [14] And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. [15] If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. [16] And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. [17] By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. [18] There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. [19] We love because he loved us first. [20] If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. [21] And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.

    1. Jenica Donahue says:

      Thank you for posting. I feel this way, too. We fail to do justice, to love others and respond with mercy, to be humble. I feel angry about it and judgmental. I know this response is wrong; I know I am also to blame. Living in a new city, I excuse myself by being new, but it’s no excuse. I am praying for a soft heart, and to be “perfected in love.”

  20. Cathe says:

    Taylor, I know we are better together then alone. We’re a tribe of women who love the Lord and want to share His goodness. Glad you are feeling better.❤️

  21. Maura says:

    The thought of God weeping wrenches my heart. The short verse “Jesus wept” always takes the air from me as I consider the sorrow of our Lord. When Jesus wept, as He saw Mary and Martha’s deep pain when Lazarus died. It overwhelms me with the love and compassion Jesus has for them, and the times in my life when I know He felt my sorrow and the love He wrapped me up in. Here in Jeremiah the thought of God weeping because the people won’t listen and therefore will be taken captive again overwhelms me with how our sin separates us from such an incredible Love. Save Jesus we could not be able to bridge that separation. So thankful that our/my God gave it all to give me/us the means/grace to salvation. Lord help this realization of your love and grace for each of us strengthen us in seeing and loving others right where they are at, just the way you have seen and loved us. May yours be all the glory our Redeemer and may we bring you Joy and find your joy in this day. Amen.

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Well said, Maura. I wholeheartedly agree ❤️❤️❤️

  22. LWC says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I have been a little overwhelmed camping out in Jeremiah, reading day after day the severe words and warnings God said to His people. I read what they’re doing and I see parts of myself and our world in their actions. Yesterday, I was talking to God about how heavy it all is and He reminded me – you live in the new covenant and these passages should make you all the more grateful for Jesus! He is everything. So while we’re camping out in Jeremiah right now, reading about people who are a lot like ourselves … I love the thought that we are on a journey to Jesus, the One who covers all of our filthy ways!

    1. J D says:

      Yes! Great thoughts.

    2. Jennifer Anapol says:

      I too have felt overwhelmed reading Jeremiah every day and being reminded about the sims of the Israelites and my own sin. I am so glad we have Jesus so we don’t need to stay in that sin. Easter will be more significant this year.

    3. Kelly Underwood says:

      Great words! Thanks for sharing

    4. K D says:

      Excellent reminder – thanks!!

    5. Molly M says:

      That’s exactly what I thought too! That’s what makes this study so great is that I am daily reminded of just how much Jesus gave to us. I see the faults in myself and am thankful that we serve an awesome God who thought I still deserved to be saved!

  23. Terri Gauldin says:

    For some reason the app only gives the first verse of chapter 13 where the dirty undergarment story plays out. Definitely give the whole chapter a read. Great application and another good comparison with wine jars, a warning form the Lord and the destiny of Judah spelled out in ways that compare to the soiled undergarments. So many words but it’s all so good! The Lords pursuit is relentless!

    1. Amanda DeMoss says:

      I had to expand it too! I didn’t pay attention that there was more in the reference header than just the first verse. And when she started talking about dirty underwear, I re-read the second section about three times (where in the world does she see dirty underwear here?!) before I expanded the first. Live & learn. :)

  24. Taylor says:

    Thank you so much everyone (especially Pam, Paula, Maura, Courtney, ADB, Cathe, Katie, and others) for your prayers, kind responses, encouragement, and advice to me on my journey yesterday. I am so thankful for this SRT community and I wake up every morning excited to dive into the Word together and read everyone’s comments. I read early in the morning, so I have started a habit of reading one day behind so I can glean all the wisdom and encouragement from your comments. I hope everyone has a wonderful day and pray we all feel God’s loving presence as He relentless chases our hearts today! May we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

  25. Sara Terry says:

    Dear Lord ,
    Please help me to discern the words of false prophets from Your truth , and do the same for the leaders of our churches , towns, country and world . Please cleanse my ears to know Your truth . We are bombarded with so many messages every day , I need help remembering what is truth and what is a lie . Please tell me who to vote for ,because I have no idea ! Please cleanse my mouth to speak only your truth to others . Please guide my actions to reflect only your truth and mercy . Lord , thank You for your grace and mercy . Please help me to receive it with open handed worship . Amen .

  26. Churchmouse says:

    I can have an anger problem. I hear the lies told by our culture and I see false idols being followed. I see foolish people lauded as “being woke” and I just want to scream. Quite frankly, I want to tell them off and write them off because they don’t get it and they don’t care. The Gospel is presented and yet minds remain closed and hearts hardened. I weary of repeating what to me is the obvious, that they are on a path of destruction yet they shrug their shoulders. I understand Jeremiah’s frustration and I understand the reasoning behind God’s just plan. Truly it’s all a bit maddening to get up everyday and go to my knees to pray for this lost world. It’s only because I know the Truth of heaven and hell that I persist in prayer. God doesn’t want anyone to perish and neither do I. So I take a deep breath and turn my gaze upon Jesus, ever merciful and full of grace. He was so torwards me and so He will be to any other one who turns to Him. So… I will try to not get weary in interceding for the lost and I will ask that my feelings of anger be changed to acts of love done in His name. For that is how we are to be known, by our love, not our frustration, anger or judgmentalism. He forgave me. He spared me from hell. I was once them but for the grace of God, I am no longer. Yet… I am still them in my repeated sins and yet He forgives. Time to pray for myself. I see need for an attitude change. More gratitude, less arrogance. More humble gazing upon Jesus.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:

      I’m right there with you Churchmouse. How dare I lose patience or judge those who seem not to care about the Lord? I was “them” once, & am not now only by the grace of God. And even now I am not without sin & in need of His ongoing forgiveness. Help me Father, to keep a right attitude towards those you love (everyone), & an honest appraisal of myself. Amen

    2. Joyce Hiebert says:

      Churchmouse I love your honesty. Thank you for reminding me/us to keep on living our lives for the One True God. “More gratitude, less arrogance. More humble gazing upon Jesus.”

    3. Chloe Monz says:

      You have a way with words. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    4. Lisa Emily says:

      Thanks Maus I needed that! ;-)

    5. April Cooksey says:

      Yes, it had to have been very difficult for Jeremiah to keep going in the face of that culture. I see it in my 5th grade classroom and pray for my students and their families. It is so tough. But we must press on.

    6. Monica Hailey says:

      Beautiful truth and admonition. Thank you for sharing!

    7. Andrea P says:


  27. Alexis says:

    Acts of obedience on the part of the Israelites on rings so loud and clear to me throughout Jeremiah. Obedience is important to God and was for their benefit…for our benefit. Even Jeremiah was being called to a level of obedience…regardless of how strange the request (linen underwear, not praying for his fellow people who were about to be doomed) It made me ponder am I obedient to what God is asking of me, even if it seems out of the ordinary to my own understanding? Even the answer to my prayer seems contrary to what I prayed for?

  28. Angie says:

    Jeremiah 13:17 “But if you will not listen, my innermost being will weep in secret because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, for the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.” – Almighty God loves us SO MUCH that He weeps because of our pride, or any sin that allows His flock to be taken captive. Just rest in that for a little bit. My understanding of His love for us just keeps expanding. Oh Lord, I don’t want to make You weep, I long to bring honor to You.
    Jeremiah 14:7 and 9b”Though our iniquities testify against us, Lord, act for your name’s sake. Indeed, our rebellions are many; we have sinned against you…Yet you are among us, Lord, and we bear your name. Don’t leave us!” How great is the Father’s love towards us, He does not leave us in our sin. It is that blessed love that brings us to repentance and offers a way of redemption through Jesus Christ.
    Jeremiah 14:22b “Are you not the Lord our God? We therefore put our HOPE in you, for you have done all these things.” Matt Redmond from He Reads Truth today says, “Jeremiah’s eyes are fixed on the reality of God and not just the misery and ruin and sin all around him.”
    Lost and captive without You.
    Forgiven through You.
    Living loved and full of hope in You.

  29. Claire Abel says:

    Brenna, you hit a nerve with me. My
    prayers are most always “me” focused! And at this time I definitely need to look outward with my prayers. Our country, our world needs intercessory prayers right now. Thank you for sharing!

  30. Blessed Beth says:

    Thank you Brenna Lee I am going to change my mind set from me to we. Hat an eye opened.i am praying that way right now.

  31. Kristen says:

    This is something I need to remember: It’s a short step to confess that I am guilty of these same sins. All our hearts are idol factories, turning our gaze and affection toward lesser things. Apart from the tender mercies and the arresting grace of God, we will go the way of Israel and Judah, for even our very finest righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Even my finest righteousness is a filthy rag. I heard a pastor say or I read that we would be like a menstrual rag. That is quite a visual, and one that should take away pride. Even my best is trash compared to the acts of a Holy God. Please, God give me eyes to see You properly and give You honor and glory you deserve. Please give me eyes to see myself how You see me and others. You love us and gave Your Son, but you resist the proud. Help me to see rightly and live in awe of You! Help me to lead others to You and not away in Jesus’ Name Amen.

  32. Brenna Lee says:

    What stood out to me the most in this passage, is the role of the prophet. Jeremiah received a Word From the Lord to declare over God’s people and then over time, Jeremiah is pleading and requesting God’s mercy for the Israelite people. How often is my pleading for repentance or even my prayers in general so individualistic and “me” focused? ALL OF THE TIME! Lately. I’m encouraged to broaden my prayers for corporate repentance. Praying and pleading on behalf of my family, my neighborhood, my city, my country, my world. ❤️

  33. truth seeker says:

    Oh Lord Jesus I thank you for Your giving of Your most precious, holy Self that You left the glories of heaven to come to earth as a wholly human, wholly GOD baby born of a virgin so that you would die on a vicious cross for the sole purpose of taking my and the whole earths sins upon yourself so that God our Father whose wrath was upon us as we all are sinners would be satisfied by Your ultimate sacrifice of Yourself in order that I and all others who believe in You might not perish but find peace in you and receive everlasting life.