Garments of God

Jeremiah 13:1–7:
“’Go and buy yourself a linen waistband . . . 
but do not put it in water. . . . Take the waistband that you have
bought, . . . and . . . go . … hide it . . . in a crevice of a rock.” . . .
After many days . . .  “take from there
the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.” . . . And lo, the waistband
was ruined, it was totally worthless.”

John 13:3–4: “Jesus,
knowing . . . He . . . was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid
aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.”

Observation: A
linen waistband, a Jewish priestly garment, was worn close to the body to
symbolize nearness to God’s heart. God used the object lesson of a new
waistband’s being destroyed to illustrate what was to soon happen to the people
of Judah, the people He held close to His heart. In John 13, we see another
reference to garments being laid aside as Jesus prepared to minister to His
disciples.

Application: The common
appearances of garments in both the Old
Testament and the New Testament readings for today, in different ways, spoke of God’s love for His people. In Jeremiah, God loved his people by disciplining
them—removing the garment. In John, Jesus loved his apostles enough to remove
his garment to better serve them. Verse 4 describes a moment before the
footwashing when Jesus deliberately removed His garment and laid it aside, suggesting
respect for the garment; no careless tossing aside here. 

In Jeremiah, the intimate garments that would soon be wasted
and worthless illustrated that God’s beloved nation was about to be destroyed. Jeremiah
said in 13:17 that his soul will sob . . .  because the flock of the Lord was about to be
taken captive. And in 14:11, the Lord commanded Jeremiah to stop praying for
the people. It is as though Jeremiah’s prayers were somehow impeding the work
that God needed to do. Those people had so rejected God there was no hope for
them (see 7:12–18). So God told Jeremiah that praying would do no good. God
was going to have to do what he promised to do.

There is something about the symbol of a garment worn close
to the heart as in Jeremiah, and lovingly handled and laid aside by Christ,
that pierces me afresh when I realize a time comes when those I love and have
kept close to my heart must be lovingly “taken
off” and released to Him. And if I do not, I must wonder that I trust Him so
little.

Prayer: Lord
Jesus, I noticed today how gently You handled Your garments. With how much more
love will You handle the hearts of those I now turn over to You? Forgive me,
Lord, for hanging on so long, when all You have asked is that I release these
dear ones to You.

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