Linen Underwear

I’m reading through the book of Jeremiah, and when I hit chapter 13, I had to take a moment to just laugh. I usually read the ESV or NIV translation, but at a closing Christian Bookstore, I found a Holman Christian Standard Bible for four dollars. And it was one of those journaling Bibles with pictures in 50% of the margins. I’ve been wanting to know if I would find those pictures and spaces for journaling useful and helpful, and what better way than a four dollar Bible? I figured since this was just for my personal study, a new translation would be okay. 

Anyway. Jeremiah 13. The heading is “Linen Underwear.” The ESV translation has loincloth instead, and while they’re the same thing, for me it was a very different experience to read about Jeremiah and his underwear. 

God tells Jeremiah to go and buy a pair of underwear and put it on. Then God tells him to hide it in a crevice. Then after a long time, God tells him to go get his underwear and put it back on. But by that time, it was ruined and Jeremiah couldn’t wear it anymore. God’s point is that just as that underwear was ruined, so will he destroy Judah and Jerusalem because they ignored him and did what they wanted instead. 

My favorite part comes at the end: 

“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 will allow no mercy, pity, or compassion to keep Me from destroying them.”

Jeremiah 13:11

I find that to be a pretty neat and funny concept. God wants his people to be as tight to him as underwear is on our waists. That’s an easy reminder of how God longs for us. Sometimes, my underwear is pretty tight and rather uncomfortable. But now, whenever that happens, I can remember God’s plan: fasten us to him as underwear clings to our waists.


Image taken from Beliefnet “10 Amazing Promises from Jeremiah 29:11.”

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