The lesson of the dirty underwear!
Scripture reading for August 6th: Jeremiah 11-15
Object lessons employ the principle that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’. God has always given object lessons through His prophets. Some of these were pretty graphic. In today’s reading God instructed Jeremiah to go and buy a linen belt and put it around his waist. This belt was a type of underwear that Jeremiah would wear close to his body in the most intimate place. He was to wear it for a period of time but not wash it in water. (Jeremiah 13:1) Can you picture in your mind how the body sweat and the dust of walking on the roads of that day caused the white linen underwear to soil?
Next God instructed Jeremiah to take the underwear and hide it in a crevice of a rock. After many days he was to go and retrieve it. (Jeremiah 13:3-6) There were no surprises for the linen belt was ruined and completely useless. This object lesson would require some thinking on the part of the people!
God was saying that His people were like the white linen underwear. He wanted to keep them close to Him in intimacy and as a special treasure. They refused to listen and instead were filled with stubborn pride and rebellion. They went after other gods and worshiped them and became useless, just like the linen undergarment. They were called and prepared to be God’s people for ‘renown, praise and honor’, but fell far short of their calling. (Jeremiah 13:11) Their intimacy with Him had not consecrated their hearts as He dwelled in their midst! God would ruin their pride just like the soiled undergarment!
The New Testament book of 1st Peter contains a similar idea. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1st Peter 2:9-10) Another version uses the term “peculiar people”. This term speaks of a special treasure–“pocket change” that God can use for His special purposes. We belong to God and must choose to stay close to Him. Intimacy requires purity! God wants to us to dwell close to his heart and declare His praise to a dark world! He won’t wear ruined underwear!