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linens and glory...

I awoke at 3 a.m. this morning. There were many things on my mind, and as I sat in the quiet darkness that enveloped my vision, I was reminded of my dependence on need to cling to Him when all things of life fill my thoughts and I don't know what to do or what to say or how to combat what so often plagues me - doubts, fears, and insecurities.

Earlier in the evening, I had been reading Jeremiah 13 and found myself chuckling, wondering why on earth God chose to use underwear as a parable. But as I studied and dug deeper into the text, I realized the utter significance and the heart of God.

To sum up the story, God told Jeremiah to go and buy a linen undergarment and put it on, but he wasn't allowed to put it in water - he obeyed. God told him to take it and go to the Euphrates and hide it in a rocky crevice - he obeyed. God told him "a long time later" to go and get the underwear - he obeyed, but when he retrieved it, it was ruined.

At first read, it was just words on a page, another parable, another warning that Jeremiah was giving to the people. But let's back up. In Exodus 28, it was a command for the priests (Aaron and his sons) to wear linen undergarments - among other things - "whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die." (Ex 28: 43). And again in Ezekiel 44, it spoke of the role of linen undergarments in priestly wear. The point is, God had tied Israel and Judah closely to His waist, as He desired them to be tightly bound to Him - they were His chosen priesthood. He would cover them, as not to expose their nakedness and shame. He was their past Savior, their present Savior and their Savior to come. But they turned away...

Jeremiah was instructed not to wash them - a clear picture of what their disobedience was doing over time to the costly linen that covered them. In trying to hide their sin, they were exposing themselves. A paradox, that only those of us who have tried to hide sin, recognize. There was so much filth "after a long time", that there was no choice but to discard them. God had been patient and provided time and time again despite their failures - look no further then the wanderings in the desert - yet, it was now time to either turn back or be destroyed. A grave warning...

As I laid in my bed this morning, praying, specific moments invaded my mind of the times in my life when my own undergarments had become loose and how stained at times they had become. Oh how my heart cried out to the only one who I could truly cling to. His heart was running toward me and my heart was running toward Him - to the One whose own blood covered my shame, my guilt and my sin, making me as white as snow. I chose Him. Because you see, this wasn't about Israel failing, or me failing. This was about God's name being exalted and His grace in abundance, covering the world would know...that He and He alone is all I live for.

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:17


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