Thus the Lord said to me, "Go and buy yourself a linen waistband and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water."
So I bought the waistband in accordance with the word of the Lord and put it around my waist.
Then the word of the lord came to me a second time, saying,
"Take the waistband that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock."
So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord had commanded me.
After many days the Lord said to me, "Arise, go to the Euphrates and take from there the waistband which I commanded you to hide there."
Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
"Thus says the Lord, 'Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.
'This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless.
'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.'"
Tonight as I was doing my devotion, I came across this story in Jeremiah. It was one I don't ever remember reading or hearing before and I just loved the message God was teaching Jeremiah through it.
In the book of Jeremiah leading up to this point, God has been revealing to Jeremiah the future of the Israelites, warning him that because of they have repeatedly turned away from Him they will be facing destruction like they had never before experienced. The first twelve chapters have been a conversation between God and Jeremiah involving God's decision and Jeremiah's questioning and pleading. This chapter interrupts the conversation as God intends to show Jeremiah exactly what He means. Since he can't seem to comprehend the God's reasoning, He walks him through a real life example.
Like the waistband is made to cling to the waist of its wearer, we are God's prized creation, designed to fit perfectly into His arms. When cling to Him as we were made to do and we walk with Him and never leave his ways. But like the waistband, when we separate ourselves from Him we become ruined. Hiding far away from our original intent, we become worthless.
I love this example God gives Jeremiah. We are so perfect and complete when we are with our Savior, but without Him we can never accomplish what he has so perfectly designed us to do.
For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made [my people] cling to me... that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory...