WONDERFUL THINGS: A lesson on being too clingy
If someone calls you “clingy” they are not usually paying you a compliment. If God calls you “clingy” it is the highest of compliments and the greatest of accomplishments. You see, God loves people who cling to Him, for they show forth how truly glorious God is.
This is the message of Jeremiah 13. In this chapter God commands Jeremiah to buy and wear a linen loincloth. He then commands His prophet to take the loincloth and bury it by the Euphrates River. Some time later God tells Jeremiah to go back and fetch the loincloth. But when Jeremiah uncovers the cloth he finds, “the loincloth was spoiled; it was good for nothing” (Jeremiah 13:7).
God then explains the meaning of this unusual illustration: “For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen” (Jeremiah 13:11).
God made His people to cling to Him and in their clinging they become a praise to God and show forth His glory. But two questions come to mind as we ponder this statement: first, how do we cling to God? And second, how is God glorified in our clinging?
How do we cling to God? First, we cling to God by having an intimate relationship with Him. Of all the pieces of clothing that God could have used to describe our relationship with Him, He chose the loincloth, the piece of clothing that is “closest” to the body. Nothing comes between the skin and the loincloth. Implied in this is that God made us to have a close and intimate relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. Without this — a true, personal, daily, intimate relationship with God — we are “good for nothing;” we do not cling.
Second, we cling to God by hearing and obeying His commands. God calls the evil people of Judah a ruined loincloth because they “refuse to hear my words” and instead, “follow their own heart” (Jeremiah 13:10). Therefore, hearing and obeying the Word of God must be a part of clinging to God. This is verified in Joshua 22:5 where Joshua commands the people, “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." Please do not miss this. The commandments of God are not meant to be means to demonstrate our goodness, they are meant to teach us how to cling to God’s goodness!
Every one of God’s commandments is a lesson in how to cling. When God says, “Do not steal,” He is not saying, “Show Me how good you are by not taking the property of others.” He is saying, “Cling to me. Hold fast. Do not steal, instead trust me to take care of your every need.” And so it is with every commandment of God. You cannot cling unless you know and obey the commands of God by faith.
How is God glorified in our clinging? Think of it this way. What if you were at the beach on Memorial Day and the place was just a sea of bodies and confusion. As you are politely making your way through the crowd, you spot a toddler’s face. You are immediately concerned about such a small one in this crush of humanity. But you look at his face, and he is smiling and calm and confident, even joyful. Then you notice. This little one is clinging to the leg of his father. And his father is holding him tight (see Psalm 63:8, “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me”).
When the child clings, he glorifies, not his power, but the power and strength of his father. When he smiles, he does not demonstrate his self-confidence, but rather shows his delight in the goodness and love of his Father whom he knows will take care of him. Clinging shows that we are weak, but that God is strong and good and merciful.
It is not a dreary duty to cling to our heavenly Father; it is a joyful pleasure. When we cling to789 God He is glorified, and we receive the grace and goodness our hearts desire.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at email@example.com.