Reflections on Genesis 3: Who Told You That You Were Naked?

img_6297The book of Genesis always seems to be a January thing; it’s the book where masses search their spaces to dust off the holy book and decide that early this year, 2019, it’s going to happen.

You think, “I’m going to read the Bible cover to cover.”

So, why not? It’s always a good idea to read the Word of God. Start fresh, it’s only January 5th, and the “New Yearness” doesn’t rub off until after MLK Day. In fact, the definition of the word “genesis” brings up synonyms like origin, source, beginning, start.

Which leads us to my thoughts on Genesis 3:1-11.

The Context
God proclaims the earth into being (Genesis 1), and the pesky, crafty snake challenges the Sovereign God to ruin the beauty, comforts, and intimacy of Eden (Genesis 3:1). Snake offers the women, through a series of questions about semantics – it’s always about semantics, isn’t it? – to convince her that disobeying God through eating the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden is a good idea (v. 1-5). Oh, and that one will gain knowledge, knowing good and evil.

Eve then, decides yes, (arguably “hell? YES!”) I’m going to trust this talking serpent instead of the One who placed me in this beautiful garden because He seems shady and there’s something He’s not giving up and bite into the fruit (v. 6). Not only that but also, Adam’s got to taste this delightful fruit that offers wisdom (v. 7)! So in humanity’s first instance of a woman serving man food, our protagonists Eve and Adam realize that they are naked and sew the first pieces of fashion into existence (v. 7).

Then God, the Creator and Father, walks around, so close that they could hear his steps and asks them, “Where are you?” (v. 8-9).

Adam responds, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (v.10).

God then questions, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (v. 11).

Interpretation
For some reason in reading Genesis 3 this January, I was struck by the question “Who told you that you were naked?” It’s interesting that God doesn’t ask, “What made you afraid?” or “Hey, what are those?” while pointing at the fig leaves.

Instead, He asks, “Who told you that you were naked?”

So what’s the deal with nakedness? Why did God want Adam and Eve to continue in nakedness? What’s the shame in the decency of clothing oneself?

For strangers, nakedness is uncomfortable. It’s just too much. It’s overwhelmingly there, and everything else is out at the same time too. Nakedness can be scandalous, cause bullying, provoke addictions, and ruin lives.

So according to one 21st-century perspective, clothes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. We have malls filled with racks and racks of clothing, shoppers lined up to purchase these goods, and shows broadcasted about models who wear the said clothing. In retrospect, those fig leaves would’ve been an amazing Kickstarter idea.

But God desired to fix this issue, the distortion of nakedness. He wanted us to return back to the place of trust, intimacy, and freedom that could only be found in the cool of the Garden, walking alongside our Creator, so close that we can hear and see Him – so close that we could laugh together, hear His whispers, and feel the warmth of an embrace.

To God, nakedness is not simply a physical condition. Nakedness is vulnerability and the willingness to trust, a faith-filled action with the bold declaration of “here I am.” Nakedness is intimacy, a form of love, like that between a husband and wife. Nakedness is freedom in knowing that you are enough, just as you are.

And because now our eyes have been opened and the peace of the Garden has been disrupted, true nakedness must be gained through a sacrifice. And that sacrifice had to become naked to the point of death. So vulnerable to the point of shedding His own skin to bear our shame and fear. Just as the LORD God makes garments for Adam and his wife through the death of an animal to clothe them in Genesis 3:21, the same God provides us new robes of righteousness through giving up His Son.

Isaiah 53:5, 7 says that “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed […] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”

He bore our shame so that we wouldn’t be ashamed. He was humiliated so that we wouldn’t be. He died so that we wouldn’t. He rose again so that we would rise.

Application
So this January, embrace nakedness. Be naked before the Lord. Be trusting. Be intimate. Be free. Be loved. Live life in confidence, knowing that the Son of God is trustworthy, ever-near, and relentless in His pursuit.

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“Singing Christmas: What Child Is This?” at Harvest Bible Chapel (Elgin Campus)

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Yesterday, Witness and I attended the 11 am service at Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC). It was the first of the HBC Advent services. The worship team added about seven drummer boys from Harvest Christian Academy (the church’s school), so the steady beat of the drums made me excited to usher in the spirit of Christ’s birth. I was happy to see generations of faith playing on stage together. It was relevant and cool, not just the separate children’s choir or orchestra that performs at every special church occasion.  I was so inspired by the worship. From traveling and visiting many different churches, it was such a blessing to see old songs become fresh and new. Meredith Andrews sang “Not For a Moment” with lyrics focused on Christmas. Instead of the normal lyrics of repentance and human emotions, we were suddenly transported to the backdrop of Middle Eastern shepherds, flocks, and angels singing over the birth of Christ. Whoever changed the lyrics did an absolutely brilliant job. It was effortless and truly amazing! I didn’t realize that such a simple change could make such a huge and refreshing impact. Loved it.

This particular service was the intro to the “Singing Christmas” series. James Macdonald hit it spot on with his first sermon. He first warned us to caution, stating that he’d be preaching off of Christmas carols… and before the naysayers could moan about the “Biblelessness” of certain churches, he assured us that the songs he’d be focusing on would be biblical and truth. As I’ve stated before in my Step 1 post, I like that Macdonald lectures as if he’s a classroom teacher, probably because that’s how I teach too. He’ll use relevant topics, like Christmas carols, Elf on the Shelf, video testimonies, and even his own grandson to illustrate the majesty of Christ coming to earth. He concluded with the conclusion of all conclusions, the worship and adoration of our Gracious and Majestic King. It was a Christmas message within the relevance of the 21st century, and one that I won’t easily forget. “What Child Is This?” by William Chatterton Dix will continually be a Gospel reminder for Christian families and holiday shoppers to come.

When the service ended, Witness and I checked out the Harvest Christian Academy (HCA) corner where we were able to meet Marc Abbatacola, the executive director of HCA. He was so very kind, friendly, and down to earth. I’m hoping to get connected to the right people so that I can join the sub list.

That was our fourth Sunday at Harvest Bible Chapel… and I think it’s beginning to grow on me. Once we join small groups come January, I think we’ll be able to tell whether or not we’re going to fully commit to growing with this awesome church. Thanks for joining us onpagetwo! Let us know what you thought of the post!

With Love,

Tabitha

 

Step 1 at Harvest Bible Chapel (Elgin Campus)

  
Hello there,

Yesterday, Witness and I attended the 9:00 am service at Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin. Well, we were technically late, so it was more like the 9:20 service (since Cashew was taking his sweet, sweet time). The sermon was a little hard to follow, probably because we hadn’t been attending for the whole series.

It was the last of Macdonald’s series and a decent one too. He focused on forgiveness, and how God’s sacrifice through His Son Jesus covers our past, present, and future sin. It was nice how Macdonald showed his humanity in sharing about how he too sins and allows his past regrets to fester at times. But ultimately, since the Father has already let it go, we also should repent again, and let it go too. We’ve been forgiven and will continue to be forgiven; it’s been resolved. God’s got it. How great that we’re covered by the blood of the Lamb!

I feel that James Macdonald’s style is kind of like a lecture. He doesn’t really tell stories like John Piper or create contextual pictures like John MacArthur for the congregation. His style is more like, here’s truth, then some more truth, and if you’re feeling it, here it is again. It’s good for those who are stubborn and hard-hearted like myself.

After the service, we went to STEP 1, which is the introduction to becoming a Harvest Bible Chapel member. It was hosted in a small room on the left side of the sanctuary filled with curious newcomers and men with green lanyards on. We grabbed some coffee, filled out a card, and received more information about Harvest Bible Chapel. Overall, a pretty smooth process. Initially, I had thought that we’d be able to meet the pastors, but I think we might’ve gone a little later than expected. We’re thinking of joining small groups soon. I’ll post on that once we get started.

As always, thanks for reading, and thank you for joining us onpagetwo!

With Love,

Tabitha