(Recently I have felt overwhelmed by a number of challenging circumstances. Through several scripture passages, God provided to me much comfort, courage, and hope. Writing down what I have learned has been a helpful exercise and it is my sincere hope that this entry will encourage you in your walk with the Lord!)
Clinging: God’s Design, Desire, and Delight
“As a belt clings to a person’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me,” says the Lord. “They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me.”
Jeremiah 13:11 (NLT)
In Jeremiah’s time, people wore linen belts around their waist. God gave the prophet a strange assignment, asking him to put his new linen belt in a hole in the rocks near the Euphrates River. After quite some time, God instructed the prophet to retrieve the belt, which was already rotten and useless. God used this illustration to show how the nations of Judah and Israel became just like the rotten belt because they were adulterous, refusing to listen to God and worshiping idols (Jeremiah 13:1-10).
This passage warns us of the severe consequence of abandoning God, but what speaks to me personally is that it paints such a wonderful picture of our Father’s tender heart of desiring His people to cling to him. I found myself asking the question, “Does the Almighty Creator need to wear his people as a belt?” The answer, of course, is no. But out of His compassion and all-surpassing love, He wants to and even delights in “wearing” His people because He created us to be His pride and glory. Shouldn’t his unfailing love and delight motivate me to desire Him and cling to Him even more each day?
Indeed, the Psalmist echoes the desire of this deep longing for the LORD, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26).” Apostle Peter also uttered the essence of this yearning, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life (John 6:68).”
For the first time, I realize that this deep thirst for God expressed by the Psalmist and Peter pleases and honors God because He treasures His precious people as his pride and glory. We probably all wish life would be easy and trouble free, but it is through our struggles and difficulties that we develop a greater need to hold fast to Him, which further brings out a much sweeter comfort, builds a stronger confidence in His love, and generates a greater hope in clinging to our Lord! As His chosen “belt”, we cling to Him not just because we need to, but also because it is His design, His desire, and His delight!