Text: Jeremiah 13:1-7
I. The Bible is filled with interesting small stories
A. One time God told Jeremiah to buy a linen belt to wear.
B. Later he was told to put the linen belt in a rocky crevice near the Euphrates river
C. Still later he was told to retrieve the belt, but it was completely ruined
D. God had a point to these tasks - Jeremiah 13:8-11
II. We have value when we cling to God
A. When we obey God - Exodus 19:5
B. God picked Israel to be His special people - Deuteronomy 26:18
C. Thus Israel was near to God - Deuteronomy 4:7
D. We as Christians, God’s holy people today, are also to draw near to God - James 4:8-10
1. How do we draw near to God?
a. David’s advice to Solomon - I Chronicles 28:9
b. Asa was told much the same - II Chronicles 15:2
2. We have to choose to be close to God - Psalms 73:28
3. God is near all who call upon Him - Psalms 145:18
4. But it means giving up sin - Isaiah 55:6-7
III. Yet, Israel refused to listen to God
A. Oh, they spoke like they wanted to get close, but it was just words - Isaiah 29:13
1. This passage is repeatedly quoted in the New Testament.
B. God wants His people to listen to Him - Psalm 81:8-13
1. So God let them go. It wasn’t what He wanted. It wasn’t what was best for the people. But God did not force them.
C. God won’t prevent you from following lies - II Thessalonians 2:9-12
D. Thus, Jeremiah’s hiding the belt represents us going our own way.
IV. Sin damages us as it corrupts us
A. People are sometimes convinced that they can sin and it won’t matter to God - Luke 14:34-35
1. We died to sin - Romans 6:1-2
2. We need to see that staying in sin make us useless to God
B. Sin breeds more sin - Isaiah 59:3-5
V. Let us return to God
A. Return to God and He will return to us - Zechariah 1:3
1. Malachi quotes this and asks how does a person return - Malachi 3:7
a. The answer there was to put their trust in God’s care and give as they were required - Malachi 3:8-12
B. God will restore us - Hosea 6:1-2
C. We draw near when there is hope - Hebrews 7:19
D. Draw near with a full assurance of faith - Hebrews 10:22