Belting It Out


I'm not a "belter" in terms of vocal range, nor do I hold a "belt" in Taekwondo. I live, however, in a country that's near the "earthquake belt," and whether I'm thankful, happy, frustrated, overwhelmed, disappointed, or even confused, I belt out everything through prayer.

Incidentally, I also need a new belt. I've been using a belt that's been "handed down" to me and it's already worn out around the holes and the edges. I've been meaning to buy one for the last couple of months but for some reason, I tend to forget.

What are belts made for? They're created for the purpose of binding something or preventing something from falling off, right? With the exception of the huge 'fashionista' belts we have these days which are used as ornaments (or at times, to hide bulging bellies), the word "belt" is usually associated with the waist, right?

God really has His own unique way of communicating with His children and He knows that I need a belt. And since He wants me to know that He knows that, He wanted me to see a belt beyond what it's truly worth and taught me a valuable object lesson in Jeremiah 13:1-11.

John Maxwell says Jeremiah was considered "a meddler and a traitor" by the people in his time. Well, what response can you give to a man who speaks of 'critical evaluation' but not salvation? It's usually easy to point out other people's faults, but to be told to look inwardly and make a self-evaluation? I will most likely get a response like "Back off, Ancore," or "Let's not get personal."

Anyway. Jeremiah was "called" by God at a young age and is known today in Christian circles as the weeping prophet because of the many times he cried out to God due to the stubbornness of the people in his time - and the judgment that awaited them because of their hardened hearts.

One time, God instructed Jeremiah to buy a linen belt (or sash/waistband/shorts in other versions), use it, but to make sure it doesn't get wet. Jeremiah, being obedient, did as the Lord directed him and put the belt around his waist.

Now, on Jeremiah 13:3, we see Jeremiah obeying the Lord's instruction the second time regarding the belt - but it was kinda ridiculous: he took the belt he bought (and was wearing around his waist) and went to Perath and "hid it in a crevice in the rocks."

These days, if God were to tell me, "Ancore, go and buy yourself a new belt." Of course, I'd be happy to do that - because God knows I really, really need a new belt. It doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to be linen -- but I want it to be at least functional and fashionable. But if He tells me, alright take off that belt and hide it under the rocks, geez, in all honesty, I would ask God for a confirmation if that really came from Him. I am still a masterpiece-in-progress and I'm still in the process of learning to fully trust God and not to doubt His instructions for me.

So, on with the story. So Jeremiah hides the linen belt under the rock, and many days after, he gets another instruction from God: go back to Perath and dig up the belt He told him to hide there.

Jeremiah, of course, obeys and guess what he finds? He found the belt, alright, just where he hid it but then "it was ruined and completely useless." (Jeremiah 13:7)

Through the belt, God taught Jeremiah about pride and disobedience - especially of the people in Judah and Jerusalem. In verses 10-11 of Jeremiah 13, we read God's object lesson using the ruined belt: "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...to be My people for My renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened."

How is the belt lesson relevant to us today? Simple. We were created by God for Himself, His glory, His "renown and praise and honor." If we choose to live our lives without Him (or 'hiding' ourselves under the rocks), not listening to His instructions - and not heeding them - we would live utterly purposeless, useless lives that seem to be going nowhere and most probably lead to our eternal destruction. All the pleasures we will "enjoy" will only be temporary and we will never be truly, fully satisfied.

God's love is like the belt, suspender, or seat belt that would keep us from harm. He will hold us through the most trying times - even through temptation and He has shown us that it is actually possible for us to overcome temptation - and even death - through sending us JESUS, His Son, to die for us and our sins. I don't know with you, but for me, JESUS is not just the most important in my life; HE IS my life. Without Christ, my "life" was mediocre, pointless and filled with an endless 'longing' for approval. When I made my commitment unto Him and willingly decided that there is no turning back, I've seen that this is the only life that leaves no room for regrets but only joyful expectation. I find my identity, my sustenance and my security in Him. He's got me fully covered.

Why don't you claim your salvation belt in Jesus today? Satisfaction definitely (and infinitely) guaranteed.

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