13 Thus said the Lord to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth and put it on your loins, but do not dip it in water.” 2 So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord and put it on my loins. 3 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 “Take the loincloth that you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Euphrates,[a] and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates,[b] as the Lord commanded me. 6 And after many days the Lord said to me, “Go now to the Euphrates,[c] and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates[d] and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. But now the loincloth was ruined; it was good for nothing.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 Thus says the Lord: Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own will and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.
When I picture Santa in my mind, one thing that stands out is his huge belt. I guess it holds up his pants, but its presence also makes a statement. And so is the case with Jeremiah’s loincloth. The statement made with this conspicuous accessory is that something that was created to be useful can indeed be rendered useless it is not cared for. And this can be said about us. The coming of Jesus in human flesh stood as validation of the beauty and worth of an obedient human life. Point made.
God of our lives, we thank you for affirming our worth, even when we behave in worthless ways. And we thank you for sending a Savior to people whose lives show how much we need to be saved. Amen