Parables

July 1, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Posted in parables | 4 Comments
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Most of the parables in the Bible were taught by Jesus during His earthly ministry, and can be found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but there are parables throughout the Bible. They are very instructive vehicles for conveying spiritual truth, and, while they are sometimes the subject of too much creative scrutiny, “over-spiritualizing,” and biased interpretation on the part of Bible teachers who have a pet doctrine or eschatological view they want to read into all sorts of passages of Scripture, parables will repay a faithful and obedient Christian’s close attention with memorable warnings, admonitions, encouragement, insight, and spiritual nourishment. Here are links to lessons on some of the Biblical parables:

1. Trusted with the Treasure (Luke 19:11-27)
2. Why Parables? (Matthew 13:10)
3. The King Who Will Return (Luke 19:11-17)
4. Wake Up to the Word (Matthew 13:11-16)
5. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 4) (Luke 8:13)*
6. Salt or Scum? (Ezekiel 23-24)
7. The Manager Who Thought He Was an Owner (Luke 20:9-16)
8. Our Own Worst Enemy (Luke 18:9-14)
9. What Exactly Did Jesus Say about Being Judgmental? (Matthew 7:24-27)
10. Hearing What the King Says  (Matthew 13:13-16)
11. The Intercession of the King
(Matthew 13:45)
12. Hearts of Stone (Matthew 13:5-21)
13. The Unwanted Peace, the Unfruitful Tree, and the Underdressed Guest (Matthew 22:1-14)
14. Serving without Fear (Mark 4:2-8)
15. Winsome Weeding  (Matthew 13:7, 24-30)
16. Wary Watching 
(Luke 12:35-40)
17. A Second Pair of Paradoxes
 (Mark 10:17-31)
18. The Servant Prophet 
(Mark 12:1-9)
19. Conformers, Reformers, or Transformers (Luke 5:36-39)
20. Obstacles, Others, and Ourselves (Luke 6:39-40)
21. What Kind of Dirt Are You? (Luke 8:5-15)
22. The Dirty Girdle (Jeremiah 13:1-11)
23. The Certains: a Lawyer, a Man, a Priest, a Samaritan, and a Savior
 (Luke 10:25-37)
24. A Recipe for Importunate Prayer (Luke 11:2-10)
25. The Vowels of Hell (Luke 11:21-22)
26. When Kingdoms Collide (Luke 13)
27. The Door and the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-11)
28. The Sabbath, Sickness, and Self-Serving Status (Luke 14:7-11)
29. The Joy of Rescuing Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7)
30. A (Perhaps) Parabolic Prodigal’s Preferential Proximate Predicament Produces Patient Prosperous Passionate Persistent Protective Paternal Pardon (Luke 15:8-24)
31. Prayerless Practical Pouting Prefers Possessive Purpose (Luke 15:25-32)
32. A Good Story about a Bad Man (Luke 16:1-10)
33. Persistent Pleas, Powerful Prayers, a Proud Pharisee, and a Penitent Publican (Luke 18:1-14)
34. From Investing to Interceding (Luke 19:11-22)
35. The Stones of Confrontation (Luke 20:9-19

*most-viewed post in category

The Dirty Girdle

December 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Jeremiah, parables | 4 Comments
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Jeremiah 13 contains two illustrated sermons – or parables – which God had Jeremiah act out. This was unusual behavior compared to the simple preaching and prophesying done by prophets most of the time in the Old Testament, but it was not unusual in the sense of being novel for both minor and major prophets. Ezekiel was especially known for his “action” sermons, doing things like shaving his beard and dividing the whiskers into thirds, building a little fort and tearing it down, and once lying on the ground, and moaning and groaning in pretend agony. Other examples include Isaiah preaching without his clothes and Hosea marrying a prostitute. So, what Jeremiah does here is strange, but not at all without precedent for an Old Testament prophet

Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water.

Jeremiah 13:1

This was a private revelation given to Jeremiah. He was not told by God to share this message with the people. The “girdle” was probably not what comes to mind when we think of a girdle today. It’s not as if Jeremiah put on a pair of “man-Spanx” or anything like that. This would have been more like what we think of as a waist apron. Jeremiah, once on a career path to being a priest before his prophetic call, knew the significance of the “girdle” being linen. Many Jewish men wore aprons for wiping their hands on, etc., and probably to aid in girding up their loins for work or fast travel, but the linen was an unmistakable reference to the Levitical priesthood.

So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put it on my loins.

Jeremiah 13:2

Notice what’s missing between Verses 1 and 2: any mention of Jeremiah asking the Lord why he needed to do this, or of the Lord giving any explanation. If only we could all learn to obey the Word of the Lord that way – even when we have no idea “why.”

The most unusual thing about the girdle was that it could not touch water; it could not be washed. The nation of Judah was God’s priestly apron, in a sense. He “wore” it for His own glory, the way a priest would wear a linen girdle to be recognized as a priest, consecrated to God. The priests were also supposed to “serve” Him – to be used by Him to do His “work” in the world. God’s people, although they had been delivered “through” the Red Sea, had not gotten wet. Tragically, though, they had not been “spiritually washed,” either. They came out of Egypt dirty, and when God offered them clean garments of righteousness, their defiled hearts quickly made these dirty, too.

And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock.

Jeremiah 13:3-4

This was a 250-350 mile trip each way, so possibly 700 miles round trip, to the Euphrates, not coincidentally the river associated with Babylon – the place where the enemy of Judah would come from and claim a victory over them because they had forsaken their God, their Cleanser and Protector.

So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there.

Jeremiah 13:5-6

Jeremiah was required to repeat the long trip to retrieve this girdle that had been lying buried in the muck and moldly earth near the river, now completely useless for its originally-intended purpose.

Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.

Jeremiah 13:7

Rather than allowing God to carry their sins away and exchange them for His gift of cleansing righteousness, they had buried their identification with God far from Him, among filthy pagans who worshiped filthy false gods which had no power to cleanse, protect, or restore. Why had they done this?

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 13:8-9

They had done this because of pride. I know of nothing in the Bible which God opposes more than pride.

This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.

Jeremiah 13:10-11

God calls you to cleave to Him – to STAY close – as close as underwear to the body, but, unlike underwear, to receive honor that will redound to HIS (not our) glory.


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