The 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.
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).
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.
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.