“If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him before the sun goes down: for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he cries unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious” (Exodus 22:26-27).
It is deeply interesting to notice how God concerns Himself with a matter so small as the clothes wherewith we cover our bodies at night! It is clear that He takes notice of the style of dress we wear by day, condemning what is luxurious both in the man and in the woman. Hence, we read that purple and fine linen were the grand attire of the rich man of Luke 16—a man of the world, who lived neither for the glory of God nor for the good of the poor around him, but whose grand object in life was self-gratification. He “fared sumptuously every day” until his brief career was arrested suddenly by death and the fixed gulf.
The daughters of Zion, too, bedecked themselves in fine linen, and hoods, and veils, until it came to pass that there should be burning instead of beauty and desolation in the gates of the city. Modest apparel, modesty of mien, and sobriety are enjoined on the Christian woman, and a meek and gentle spirit, which is, in the sight of God, of great price.
This would result in a temperateness and decorum of style which would put to shame the gorgeous vanity of the world on the one hand, and the foolish and equally vain habiliments of the “religious” and the nun on the other. Sobriety shuns each extreme,
Hence, God signifies His desire for an ordinary style of dress. It should be plain, and of a nature that shall not draw attention. For let us remember that every particle of superfluous clothing is but an additional witness to the Fall.
Hence, “having food and raiment [covering), let us be content.”
But as to our night apparel! Let us read our two verses:
“If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him before the sun goeth down: for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep?”
Mark, that is his covering—his raiment for his skin!
The sun has gone down; the chill of midnight creeps over his sleeping form, his needed rest is disturbed, and his health is endangered. His skin requires a covering and artificial warmth. Now where can this be found if the raiment is pledged and retained? Nowhere.
And therefore God kindly ordained that the garment pledged during the day was to be duly returned at night so that no mischief should arise.
Touches of this kind go far to remind us of the minuteness of God’s regard, and of the depth of His gracious consideration for the details of our life.
He clothes the lily, He numbers the hairs of the head, and takes note of the falling sparrow. He bids us be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make known our request to Him; to cast all our care on Him, for He careth for us.
“Wherein shall he sleep?” is a question which may well create in the heart of the troubled one a sense of the care of a Creator-God, Who is also the Preserver of all men, specially them that believe.
“Say not, my soul, from whence can God relieve thy care,
Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.”
His method is sublime, His thoughts profoundly kind;
God never is before His time and never is behind.”