Jeremiah 13 – The Parable of the Girdle & Is Technology Evil?

Technology is great if it doesn’t take us away from You. 

For example, since I’m in Texas I’m glad they came up with the air conditioner.  I’m thankful for the computer so I can keep track of all my posts and I’m glad we have the internet so I can reach out to more people and tell them about Jesus.

Tel Hazor
Tel Hazor is one of the largest, most important biblical sites in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. The Bible gave it the title: “the head of all those kingdoms.”

The travel to the excavated site is an exciting experience, bringing you back 3-4 thousands years to the times this might city was the gateway between Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Tel Hazor is located on the east of the northern part of Israel, the upper Galilee. Its prime location on the main ancient road through Syria to Babylon, made it an important city. This road bypassed the impossible way through the desert, and was an important link between the two strong empires of the ancient world: Egypt on the south, and Mesopotamia (Babylon, Assyria, Persia) on the north.

You can reach the site, a national park, by driving north from Rosh-Pina (Highway #90).    The museum that hosts most of the archaeological findings is located in another location: in the nearby Kibbutz, Ayyelet Ha-shachar, 0.5KM north to the park’s entrance. Additional findings are displayed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Technology isn’t anything new, I mean, it’s a non-living evolution.  What kind of technology did they have back in Jeremiah’s time?  

Jeremiah 13
The Parable of the Girdle

1 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.

13:1-27 – a series of five warnings, the first two (vv. 1-11, 12-14) originally written in prose and the last three (vv. 15-17, 18-19, 20-27) in poetry.

13:1-11 – the story of the ruined, useless girdle (i.e., belt) is the first major example of the Lord’s commanding Jeremiah to perform symbolic acts to illustrate His message.

13:1-2, 4-7 – “Go and get…so I got…take the girdle thou hast got…and hide it…so I went, and hid it…go to Euphrates, and take the girdle…then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle” – like His spiritual ancestor Abraham, Jeremiah was characterized by prompt obedience.

“Linen” – the material of which the priests’ garments were made, symbolic of Israel’s holiness as a “kingdom of priests”.  The linen girdle is a symbol of the formerly intimate relationship between God and Judah.

“Put it not in water” – do not wash it – symbolic of Judah’s sinful pride.

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

3 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying,

4 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.

“Euphrates” – the Euphrates serves as an appropriate symbol of the corrupting Assyrian and Babylonian influence on Judah that began during the reign of Ahaz (see 2 Kgs 16).

5 So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me.

6 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.

7 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.

“The girdle was marred” – as foreseen in Lev 26:39, God’s people in exile would waste away because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.

8 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9 Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.

Aerial View of Gate
An aerial view of the gate is in the following photo, captured from the west side.

This style is similar to the gates in Megiddo and Gezer, and proves the Biblical text that Solomon built these three major cities (as per 1 Kings 9).

Tel Hazor is a tale of two cities:
Upper city – 40M above the south side of the valley. The size of the upper city is 100 Dunam (10 Hectares), and is protected by massive walls. This is the major part of the city, with the palaces and temples. Only this section is opened to the public, but there is a great view down to the lower city.

• Lower city – the larger city is located on the north side of valley Hazor. Its size is huge: 700 Dunam (70 Hectares). It is protected by a large rampart.   

History: 
32-22 century BC
Early settlement in the upper city (Early Bronze period)
 
18TH century BC
The city was established in both upper & lower cities; referenced in Egyptian texts
 
18Th century BC
Mentioned in texts in Mari (Euphrates river, Mesopotamia)
 
15th century BC
Mentioned in the Amarna letters , a 14th century BC Egyptian archive of clay tablets: a correspondence between Hazor’s king and the pharaoh.
Mentioned in several other Egyptian military campaigns in 15-14 century BC.
 
End 13th century BC
City was destroyed, as found in excavations.
After then the upper city was rebuilt, but the lower city was not settled again after the 13th century BC.
 
11xx BC
A battle (Judges 4) led by Sisera, Jabin’s general, against Judge Deborah and Barak Ben  Avinoam, is won by the Israelites near Mount Tabor and Jezreel Valley.
 
11xx BC
Mei-Merom battle (Joshua 11: 13); Canaanite coalition led by Hazor’s King Jabin is defeated to Israelites; Hazor is burnt (as per the Bible, apparently verified in excavations)
 
12-10 century BC
Upper city is resettled by Israelites.
 
968-928 BC
New gate and walls built by the Israelites (King Solomon) – written in the bible, verified in excavations. Only the upper city was resettled.
 
 9century BC
King Ahab expands the city, digs the water system, adds citadel, storehouses and public buildings.
 
885 BC
Syria’s Ben-Hadad intrusion along the North Jordan valley (1 Kings 15 20); damages to Hazor
 
841 BC
Intrusion of Shalmaneser III marks first Assyrian expedition; damages to Hazor
 
815-810 BC
Intrusion of Syria’s Hazael (2 Kings 8:12, 10:32-33, 12:18-19, 13:3+7; Amos 1:3); Hazor damaged.
 
734-732 BC
Intrusion Tiglath-Pileser III (Kings II 15: 29; verified by excavations). Hazor is totally destroyed
 
7C-2century BC
Small settlement on western citadel; after then the Tel is abandoned 
 
Modern times
Archaeological Excavations (1875,1928, 1955-8, 1968-9, 1990+)

• Note: some of the dates are based on Carta’s Atlas of the Bible – Y. Aharoni [Carta Jerusalem 1974]

10 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.

11 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.

12 Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?

13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.

13:12-14 – the Lord uses the imagery of filled wineskins to point toward the eventual destruction of Judah’s leaders and people.

“Drunkenness” – a in a literal sense, but also symbolizing the effects of the wine of God’s wrath.

14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

“Dash them one against another” – the various factions in Judah produced only confusion and chaos in the face of determined outside enemies.

15 Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken.

16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.

17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.

18 Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.

“King and…queen” – probably Jehoiachin and Nehushta (2 Kgs 24:8).  If so, the date is 597 B.C., about 12 years after Josiah’s death.

19 The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open them: Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive.

20 Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?

21 What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail?

22 And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare.

“Skirts…discovered” – disgraced publicly like a common prostitute.

23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

24 Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.

“Stubble that passeth away”  – the fate of the wicked.

25 This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.

26 Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear.

27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?

Is Technology Evil?

Is technology evil?  No, it is not.  Actually, it’s a gift from God.  God gave us the minds to create, for us to make life easier. 

The problem is that He also gave us freewill and we are unable to handle such a great gift because we are evil people. 

What are we doing with this freewill?  We are not only destroying ourselves, but turning away from God, just like they did in the beginning.

And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly.  And they had brick for stone and slime had they for mortar.

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (Gen 11:1-4).

The people weren’t satisfied with what God gave them, they wanted more.  It was the same with Satan:

Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus said the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou has said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide form thee:

With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: by thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased the riches and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: (Eze 28:2-5).

Is Tech Evil
Not long ago, tech was the coolest industry. Everybody wanted to work at Google, Facebook and Apple. But over the past year the mood has shifted.

Some now believe tech is like the tobacco industry — corporations that make billions of dollars peddling a destructive addiction. Some believe it is like the N.F.L. — something millions of people love, but which everybody knows leaves a trail of human wreckage in its wake.

Surely the people in tech — who generally want to make the world a better place — don’t want to go down this road. It will be interesting to see if they can take the actions necessary to prevent their companies from becoming social pariahs.

There are three main critiques of big tech.
The first is that it is destroying the young. Social media promises an end to loneliness but actually produces an increase in solitude and an intense awareness of social exclusion. Texting and other technologies give you more control over your social interactions but also lead to thinner interactions and less real engagement with the world.

As Jean Twenge hasdemonstrated in book and essay, since the spread of the smartphone, teens are much less likely to hang out with friends, they are less likely to date, they are less likely to work.

Eighth graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they are unhappy than those who spend less time. Eighth graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 percent.

Teens who spend three or more hours a day on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, like making a plan for how to do it. Girls, especially hard hit, have experienced a 50 percent rise in depressive symptoms.

The second critique of the tech industry is that it is causing this addiction on purpose, to make money. Tech companies understand what causes dopamine surges in the brain and they lace their products with “hijacking techniques” that lure us in and create “compulsion loops.”

Snapchat has Snapstreak, which rewards friends who snap each other every single day, thus encouraging addictive behavior. News feeds are structured as “bottomless bowls” so that one page view leads down to another and another and so on forever.

Most social media sites create irregularly timed rewards; you have to check your device compulsively because you never know when a burst of social affirmation from a Facebook like may come.

The third critique is that Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are near monopolies that use their market power to invade the private lives of their users and impose unfair conditions on content creators and smaller competitors.

The political assault on this front is gaining steam. The left is attacking tech companies because they are mammoth corporations; the right is attacking them because they are culturally progressive. Tech will have few defenders on the national scene.

Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, an d say unto him, Thus said the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering…the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

1960s

Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee (Eze 28:12-15).

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (Isa 14:13-15).

Mankind has not changed, accept it appears that people know they can’t overpower God, so instead of trying they just ignore Him and I guess think He’ll just go away.  Kind of like when a child closes their eyes they believe they can’t be seen.  What happened to Satan is going to happen to the non-believers of the world.

The Cause of Destruction

As I had said, technology is not evil; it is not the cause of our downfall.  The primary factor is the love of money.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:10).

Money is the goal that is always sought which leads to the end, but there are many different avenues that lead to the need of money, such as selfishness, insecurity, pride, etcetera.

An Analogy

To make something grow plant a seed and water it.

Let’s look at something everyone is familiar with: obesity. 

Many years ago psychologists said that the cause of obesity in America was ice cream and television – fatty food and laziness – and that makes since.  Today is worse, now kids and adults sit on their fat asses and eat and watch television or play video games.  And about these video games, most are about killing, and you wonder why kids are violent now days.

Our government does play a role in this too because most foods are no longer natural, but filled with preservatives.  So what do people do?  Instead of solving the problem they blame their fatness on the government and the government gives them a pill.

Also, I’ve noticed that clothes are different.  In 1992 I weighed 180 pounds and had a 32” waist.  I now weigh 195 pounds and still have a 32” waist.  I still have a pair of jean shorts from 1992 and even though I can wear them they are very, very tight, but the same type of jean shorts I buy today is a perfect fit.  

Technology has made many parts of life simpler, so simple that people no longer call on God for help, they look online.  Therefore, many people no longer work to succeed, they want success given to them on a silver platter.  Do you think God wants us to be lazy and live on welfare?  On the contrary:

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you:

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

for even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly working not at all, but are busy bodies (2 Thess 3:5-11).

God is with us always and wants us to ask for His help.  If you have no communication with God then you have no faith in Him and without faith you have nothing:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb 11:6).

Of course, according to Pope Francis you don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven – what kind of dope is this moron smoking? (Rev 20:15, 21:8).

Technology

Have you noticed how quick things have been changing, sometimes almost overnight?  We don’t have the intellect to come up with such ideas so quickly, but the devil does (Eze 28:5).  We also don’t know when Jesus is coming back, no one does (Matt 24:36), but the devil knows that his time is coming up (Rev 12:12) so he is working overtime to distract the world (1 Pet 5:8) of that soon to come event.

Many things of technology make life easier, such as the computer.  I learned how to type on a manual typewriter and now with the computer I can type faster, but I’m not as good as I once was.

I used to be a wiz in mathematics; I could do many problems in my head.  When the calculator came out I could figure things out quicker and that was great.  But now, after using it for so long I can no longer figure many mathematical problems in my head.

The computer isn’t evil, but the internet certainly can cause many, many wicked things.  Such as the government can now spy on you.  Facebook and Google are nothing but evil.

Military

Let’s look at the military and technology.  It has done nothing good; all it has done is made it so we can kill our enemies quicker and easier.  And thanks to technology, if they want to, they can wipe an entire city in mere seconds while they gain a few pounds by just pushing a button.

Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation – Click Here or Image to Purchase the Book
Learn how companies make us feel good about doing what they want. Approaching persuasive design from the dark side, this book melds psychology, marketing, and design concepts to show why we’re susceptible to certain persuasive techniques.

Packed with examples from every nook and cranny of the web, it provides easily digestible and applicable patterns for putting these design techniques to work. Organized by the seven deadly sins, it includes:

Pride use social proof to position your product in line with your visitors’ values

Sloth — build a path of least resistance that leads users where you want them to go

Gluttony — escalate customers’ commitment and use loss aversion to keep them there

Anger — understand the power of metaphysical arguments and anonymity

Envy — create a culture of status around your product and feed aspirational desires

Lust — turn desire into commitment by using emotion to defeat rational behavior

Greed — keep customers engaged by reinforcing the behaviors you desire

Now you too can leverage human fallibility to create powerful persuasive interfaces that people will love to use — but will you use your new knowledge for good or evil?

Military technologyis scary because our government can use them even on us.

I like what Salvatore Folisi says:

Because we have created our own processed environment of roads, cars, industry, buildings, malls, homes; because we live in a world designed by capitalism, a world of incessant advertising, sales and the desperate, frantic pursuit of material things; we rarely, if ever, experience an intimate connection with the natural world we are hoping to save.

The Demise of the World

Next time you get excited about a new gadget the world comes up with remember what I said about my pants size.  Technology is great, but then again, we are cheating and lying to ourselves and we believe the lie.

In the early 1900s 1 in 150 people were obese. By 1971 the obesity rate climbed to 14% and 40 years later that number has jumped to 34%.   It is believed by 2050, obesity will be at 42%.

Remember the old saying, “Not everything is what it appears to be.”  If we can’t trust ourselves we certainly can’t trust the governments, our only hope is the trust the Truth:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s houses are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also.

Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me (Jn 14:1-3, 65).

There was a lot of fighting back then, so I bet they would have really appreciated a cell phone back then.  How did they pass information?