And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife Eve garments of skins and clothed them.
Reflect for a moment on what it must have been like to be “clothed by God.” Hours earlier, new words were introduced into the dictionary of the world–fear, guilt and shame. Lying in ruins were the remains of hearts that once knew ageless energy, undimmed joy, and a child-like contentment that has remained unachieved by every son and daughter since.
For those of us familiar with the tragic chapter of Adam and Eve, it’s hard not to read this end portion of the story and not feel the nakedness, shame and regret that was surely emanating from their saddened souls. Sin had entered the door of the world, and they were responsible for creating its origin story. I think we can all think back on an event in our lives that we wish we could take back. An unwise decision that changed the course of our existence forever, or an unkind word that harmed a dear relationship that has never been repaired. Adam and Eve had experienced a utopian earth that they and their offspring would be banished from for many lives to come. Contemplating that level of loss must have been overwhelming.
Still, will you wonder with me for a moment? Because maybe there is a more hopeful way for us to read and receive this verse? Maybe we would do better to see how God had not only not abandoned Adam and Eve in their cataclysmic loss of innocence, but that clothing them was how He showed his most Fatherly love for them imaginable.
I remember when I was a toddler and my mother would give me and my little brother a bath during the colder, winter months. When we stepped out, dripping wet and teeth chattering, she would wrap a towel around each of us before we ran like banshees to the fireplace, where we would sit in our miniature rocking chairs as the warmth of the embers thawed our shivering limbs. Like Adam and Eve, we weren’t left in the coldness of our nakedness. We had been covered and clothed.
As we find ourselves at the end of another year, in what ways would you like to be “clothed?” Maybe you’re already feeling the guilt and shame of another twelve months that you feel were squandered by bad decisions and unlucky circumstances. Perhaps you look back and see so many missed opportunities, and a new year that would be so different had you just made some wiser decisions. Or maybe you feel disappointed because you had hoped for something new to come over the horizon, but it never came your way. It could be that you experienced some profound loss, and you are entering January with the stark realization that loneliness and limitations are once again your unwanted companions.
What you’ll find from our heavenly Father is a person who wants to clothe us, and lovingly cover the fear, guilt and shame that characterized your year, and threatens to repeat the pattern in the new year. The same God who covered and clothed Adam and Eve in theirs will not leave you unclothed in yours.
What does understanding God’s clothing of Adam and Eve remind us of? Knowing that God graciously covered Adam and Eve’s fear, guilt and shame, what things will you pray for him to cover in your life? As you see how much fatherly love and care God showed Adam and Eve after they rebelled against him, what are some untruths you need to guard against believing about God?