Decades ago, J.B. Phillips, a British pastor, created a stir with his little book Your God is Too Small. He exposed the pettiness of thinking of God as a Resident Policeman or a Pale Galilean or a Grand Old Man, and tried to lift his readers’ minds to greater concepts. It continues to be worthwhile to ask what images of God we hold in our hearts.
Today’s reading gives us a fascinating image: God as a clothier. The prophet exults in the work of God by clothing him in the garments of salvation, covering him with the robe of righteousness, dressing him up as smartly as a groom in a tuxedo or as elegantly as a bride for her wedding. God as a clothier!
This image takes us all the way back to Adam and Eve, naked and ashamed in paradise. There, the Creator replaced their guilt-fashioned fig-leaf loincloths with God-crafted garments of grace (Gen 3:7, 21). This God loves kindness as well as justice and doesn’t delight in anyone’s embarrassment.
Doesn’t this image take us forward to a parable of being robed in proper wedding garments (Mt 22), clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27), and even one day clothed in new bodies (2 Cor 5:1-5)?
For all those times when we feel inadequate, ill-prepared, exposed, misshaped, undone—here is a heartening image of God: the kind, understanding Giver of “glad rags” fashioned just for us.
And not just for us! The prophet also speaks of God as the clothier of all creation. Just as seeds in a garden “spring up” from dark soil, God will cause righteousness and praise to “spring up” upon this globe, causing it to blossom in beauty unimaginable! God the clothier is preparing a party and is decorating us and the whole world for it!
Recall times when God “clothed” you? Do you know someone who needs you to “cover” their sins with love?
God, thank you for wanting confidence and joy to be your children’s clothing. May I gratefully receive and freely share those garments today. Amen.