Dirty Underwear

One of the crazier moments in the Bible is from the life of Jeremiah. God tells Jeremiah to go get a loincloth, wear it around, go bury it and then go dig it up. When he digs it up it is rotten, crusty and useless. The entire story is a picture of the condition of the heart of God’s people. Then, God says something rather inspiring about His purpose for his people:

“For,’ I say, ‘just as shorts cling tightly to a person’s body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah tightly to me.’ I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise.”

(Jeremiah 13:11 NET)

When he says shorts the real word means “loincloth,” and when he says “body” the Hebrew word behind the translation means: loins as in midsection or groin. So, yeah, this loincloth would be closest to underwear in our context.

Using this image God describes our purpose and it is very intimate. Just like underwear clings tightly to a person and is wrapped around the most intimate and private areas, we are to be that close to God. God created us to be that close -close enough that there are no secrets, where nothing is private between us.

When we are that close we will become like him. That is why, I believe, he goes on to describe the results of a life that is this intimate: they will be “my people, my name (reputation), honor, and beauty.” (my translation) Underwear -get ready for a strong word picture (pun intended)- will take on the characteristics of the person that wears it. Especially in an agrarian culture with a lot of hard work, no AC, and limited transportation options. After a few days of wearing a pair of undies in the hot, with the sweat, and everything else you might imagine, those undies are all you.

God says to us that the result of being close to him impacts us in a comparable way. We become like Him. We are saturated with Him. If it’s not too much: we smell like him -so much like him, we become, that we are him to the world -to our friends, our neighbors, our family.

So, the next time you put on a fresh pair, think of God’s words here, and then, go get just as close to God as those undies are to you.

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