Meta. An explanation of John the Baptist's being clothed with "camel's hair" (Matt. 3:4) is given as follows: A camel symbolizes power of endurance, strength, and patient perseverance. Hair is symbolical of the power to equalize the inner and outer life forces.
He who sets himself to do the work of manifesting God must have (be clothed with) the power, patience, perseverance, and strength of Spirit. He must will to seek, to know, to understand God and to do His holy will; he must learn to discriminate between the thoughts, imaginations, desires, of self and the visions and commands of God. He must have strength to receive the wisdom of Spirit, to equalize the flow of thought substance, and to harmonize the ideas of Spirit with the manifestations of the outer world. He must put into practical, everyday use the Truth of the absolute, uninfluenced by the praise or condemnation of man. He must put God before self. All this must be done before he can recognize the Christ, the Spirit of God in himself. You will see readily that the work cannot be done by the human self; it can be accomplished only through the power of Spirit.
A comparison to the camel may be made of the Jews. In their zeal for God, their religious worship, they had the camel's persistence and patient determination, to the point of seeming obstinacy. On the other hand, they were just as zealous in their pursuit of idols.
Camels are "appropriately called the ships of the desert," Fallows says. To the ability to go long distances without outer nourishment, "are added a lofty stature and great agility; eyes that discover minute objects at a distance; a sense of smelling of prodigious acuteness . . . a spirit, moreover, of patience, not the result of fear, but of forbearance, carried to the length of self-sacrifice in the practice of obedience.... Without the existence of the camel immense portions of the surface of the earth would be uninhabitable and even impassable. Surely the Arabs are right: 'Job's beast is a monument of God's mercy !' " The Arabs call the camel "Job's beast" in reference to its great patience and forbearance. The thought of these characteristics in the camel, and their great value, recalls to mind the words of the Master: "In your patience ye shall win your souls" (lives, margin; Luke 21:19).