Don’t you love when God uses “real life” items to make his point? Jeremiah often tells vivid stories given by God to illustrate Judah’s destiny. But I’m not sure how many loincloths I’ve seen being used in my lifetime in areas of the world where I’ve been. It would have made a lot more sense to people in Jeremiah’s day. Linen belts would be intimate pieces of clothing, like underwear. Linen was also used to make the priests’ robes, so it could be seen as “holy.” But the way God uses this illustration is stunning!
The message for us is not “be careful, linen doesn’t hold up too well if it’s buried in the ground.” What was the message you heard? God said to Jeremiah, “This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem.” Fun fact: linen gets stronger when wet, so when Jeremiah is told to not wash the garment, the linen is actually dry, its weakest state.
What about Jeremiah’s obedience to God? Think about it. Jeremiah had to wonder why God was telling him to wear this loincloth around. Then, how crazy would it have been to just bury the thing? How do you think Jeremiah felt when he found the ruined linen loincloth when God told him to retrieve it?
I imagine Jeremiah was bewildered to be sure. He may have even felt a sense of guilt that his actions resulted in an utterly useless loincloth. What a waste! At least Jeremiah listened to God and did what he was told. But it was never about the loincloth. It was about the hidden meaning.
It was about clinging to God. “As a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me, says the LORD.” God wanted to give Jeremiah a dramatic picture to show how far his people had fallen. They were now “rotten” and “good for nothing!” Are you clinging to God, or do you feel like you are suffocating in this world? Think about it.
God wants us to cling to him. When we do, he’ll say this about us, “my pride, my glory—an honor to my name.” Moses had something to say about clinging to God in Deuteronomy 10:20. “You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.” That’s the message that Jeremiah’s audience, and quite frankly our culture today, seem to have missed. It’s not rocket science. God’s message is simple and clear.
When we cling to him, he provides for us. Be blessed by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” Take a moment to show your gratitude for this provision!
Do you strive to be God’s pride and joy? What more can you do to show your love and devotion? How is your own joy of knowing what Jesus did for you spilling over for the world to see? Do you need to cling a little harder?
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you that I can cling to you when the world feels like it is falling apart around me. Your promise to be with me and to provide for my needs brings such comfort. My joy is overflowing when I think of what you have done in my life. May my light shine even brighter for you today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.