I usually start these blogs with some kind of personal story for illustrative purposes. I doubt any of you want to read a personal illustration I may have concerning this specific blog title… so I’ll spare you (this time).
Have you ever had a pair of underwear for so long that the waist band doesn’t cling to your hips anymore? I had this pair of Adidas sport pants in the top of my closet. They came with us in the move to Rosenberg almost three years ago, and to my knowledge, I haven’t worn them even once since we’ve been here. The other day, I grabbed them and decided to put them on to wear around the house. Well, they slid on nicely, but after just one step it was obvious that their waist band was no longer as efficient as it once was. They had lost their elasticity. Now, I would really like to think that I had just lost so much of my gut that they couldn’t hang onto my new thin self. But it takes me a while to step back out of my fantasy world once I’ve delved in that deeply, so I revert back to the realm of reality in which the pants had just lost their “cling.”
Underwear is something that is most personal. Has your carry-on suitcase ever been opened and checked in a public airport? Mine has. I didn’t care when they were rummaging through my pants, t-shirts and socks, but when they got to my underwear, it just made me uncomfortable. Maybe even a little embarrassed. (And to think – that’s NOTHING compared to what they do now!) Underwear is a covering of the most private part of your body.
Did you know that Israel was God’s underwear? Yes, really…
Jeremiah 13:11 – “Just as underwear clings to one’s waist, so I fastened the whole house of Israel
and of Judah to Me – this is the Lord’s declaration.”
I wonder if God ran that analogy by the people before He used it? I’m guessing probably not. This is at the end of a most unusual analogy in the book of Jeremiah. Unusual, but strikingly effective. God had told Jeremiah to buy a brand new pair of linen underwear. Linen because that’s what the priests wore under their garments. He made sure to tell Jeremiah not to wash them. So now he has a brand-spanking new pair of super-cool underwear like that of an Israelite priest. God’s next instruction? – Go hide it by the river. Yep, you read that correctly. Hide it by the river. Jeremiah did just that. And to make sure no one could find and steal his new, shiny, nicely starched pair of skivvies, he buried them.
After some time, the Lord told Jeremiah to go back and find them. He dug them up and as you’ve probably guessed, they were dirty, rotten, and of no use whatsoever. I can’t imagine Jeremiah trying to put them on after this – but if he had, I bet the outcome would have been similar to my experience with those Adidas sport pants last week. This is the Lord’s commentary on the analogy:
Jeremiah 13:9-10 – “Just like this I will ruin the great pride of both Judah and Jerusalem. These evil people, who refuse to listen to me, who walk in the stubbornness of their own hearts, and who have followed other gods to serve and worship – they will be like this underwear, of no use whatsoever.”
I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but I can’t recall ever being called a dirty, rotten, useless pair of underwear. On a more serious note, it may not seem kosher to us, but God calling Israel His underwear was legit. His people were closest to His most secretive parts. They were given the privilege of knowing Him better than anyone else on the face of the planet. But because they allowed themselves to be infiltrated with the rubbish and filth of pagan practices, and because they turned their backs on Him following their own pride, He says they are withered… dirty… and useless.
You know what I did with my Adidas pants? I threw them away. Why? Because they were useless. Israel lost their elasticity. They lost their cleanliness. They lost their priestliness. They lost their usefulness.
How about your underwear? Is it dirty and rotten? Is it effective? Is it hidden in the dirt somewhere? Is it securely fastened and fully functional? Of course, I’m not talking about your literal underwear… so please don’t comment with TMI!
What I mean, Christian friend, is… are you stained with the filth of sin? Is your life serving its indented purpose for God’s kingdom? Are you some distance away from where you were made to be?
Grace and Peace,