Day 11

Jeremiah’s Request

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan

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

BY Rebecca Faires

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.

Post Comments (48)

48 thoughts on "Jeremiah’s Request"

  1. 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.

  2. 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.”

  3. 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.❤️

  4. 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 ❤️❤️❤️

  5. 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!

  6. 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. :)

  7. 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.

  8. 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 .

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