Jeremiah 13:11 (NASB)
11 For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’
One of the symbolic acts that the Lord asks Jeremiah to perform to demonstrate a message to Judah is to buy a linen waistband, wear it and then go hide it near the Euphrates in the crevice of a rock. After some time passes God sends Jeremiah back to retrieve the waistband which has by that time become rotten and worthless.
How does a waistband become worthless? It loses its ability to cling, to wrap itself around God’s middle. Some versions actually translate waistband as loin cloth. If you go to the commentaries there is much discussion as to whether or not a waistband represented an overgarment (like an apron worn over the priestly garments or an undergarment literally next to the skin). Was it meant to represent an ornament or intimacy? I think there is certainly a case for both.
Either way in verse 11 God says, “I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah to cling to Me.” God made us to cling to Him. This is our purpose. Everything in our culture tells us the opposite. The world practically screams that we need to be independent, self-sufficient and overachieving. To cling to anyone or anything, to DEPEND on anyone or anything is considered weak and even wrong.
But God says it brings Him praise and glory when we cling to Him. Whether the waistband is a loin cloth worn next to the skin or an apron worn as an outer garment, they both figuratively represent garments worn around the most intimate parts of God. Personally, I think this goes back to Jeremiah 9:23 – 24 and the importance of knowing God. Not knowing about God, but having a deep, intimate connection with Him that bears fruit.
God was crying out to Judah, as He does to me (us), “Cling to Me, Know Me.” Judah’s painful reply to God was consistently refusal and rebellion.
In this same passage, because Judah refused to cling to God, God calls them worthless (see verse 7). They were not fulfilling their purpose, they were not glorifying God by their dependency on Him. Our purpose is to cling to God, depend on Him and then according to verse 11, we will be a people “for renown, for praise and for glory”. We bring glory to God not by all our strength and independence and self-sufficiency – Judah had plenty of those things – we bring glory to God by clinging to Him.
“Father, may we bring glory to You by surrendering our plans and agendas to You and walking in dependence on You, clinging to You as if our lives depend on it.”