As a lover of all fabrics and an amateur seamstress, I have often considered the mention of linen in the Bible. Pharaoh gave Joseph a linen garment to honor him. “Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen…” Gen. 41:42. David also wore it: “wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might” 2 Sam. 6:14 NIV.
Linen has an interesting ancient history. I have one or two garments made from this fabric and although I dislike its wrinkles, I enjoy wearing it because of its body and texture. It’s also cool in our Florida climate. Designers often choose it for classic pieces because of its durability. The finest woven linen in Bible days was very soft and often bleached white. Linen’s production from plant to cloth is a lengthy skilled process which involves careful harvesting. The fibers of the plant are washed and soaked. If I understand the process correctly, the plants are actually mangled to get the fibers. Then these are spread, combed and spun. Even today, all of these steps require delicate, discriminating skill to produce the best fabric.
When I think of that, I think of the Bride of Christ who will be “robed in white” one day. We have been gently brought into the harvest by the wooing of the Holy Spirit and washed in the blood of Christ. But what about that “mangling” part of the analogy? Paul speaks to that in his second letter to the Corinthians. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” II Cor. 4:7-8. NIV As part of the bride worthy to wear those priceless garments, we may have to face events in life that press us. We may be confused about having to suffer, but our ultimate goal is the product, the “treasure” God makes of our clay, a spotless testimony, a pleasing bride. What we are in the dark days is a reflection of our truest self, whether of God or of our carnal nature.
If I want to be part of “the armies of heaven … following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:14 NIV), I must give myself over to the preparation.
Dear Lord, day by day, make me conscious of the ultimate goal —to please you by giving testimony of your saving grace and your everyday mercies in my life. Thank you for the sweet moments and the “pressured” times. You deserve glory from all of them.
- When God says, “I Will!”
- Take time to listen