Garments of Skin

I know all about “The Fall.” I’ve heard it preached a hundred times from the pulpit; I’ve heard its guilt and shame a thousand times in my soul.

The story in Genesis 3 is all about Adam and Eve… oh, and God. Yep, I suppose God is a part of the story… I always forget about God’s part of the story, unless it’s to think about His wrath and judgment after my First Parents blew it.

I’m often angry at my First Parents, and harbor a secret sense of ‘unfairness’ at the fact that God held me accountable in some way for what they did (oh a theologian’s paradise to discuss that loaded subject). And even when I can get past the feelings of futility for actions not my own… I suffer every day for behaviors begun in that Garden. I was born into a wrecked world, inheriting the mess my immediate parents gave me. I did not ask to be born into it… and I suffer from the selfishness of a thousand parents, who learned to be selfish from a thousand parents before them.

And if that were all… just the pain and futility of being a victim of others… I could learn, through patience and virtue, to put it all in some kind of context and survive it. After all, that’s what heroes do in the movies. They rise above what’s been done to them.

Then I look at myself. I see myself choosing to perpetuate the hurt to others around me. I choose, in a thousand ways, to dabble in good and evil as a judge… as God. I seek to judge and condemn others; I allow the allure of the beautiful Tree, and the Tempter behind it, to whisper to me, “Ye shall be as God.” I frequently choose to find my rest in beautiful dreams, plans and things, rather than in Him, the One for whom I was created. I tell my Creator, by actions and thoughts… You are not enough. So I begin the cycle of betrayal all over again. What was chosen by my First Parents is chosen by me too.

Genesis chapter 3… it has not been my favorite Bible story.

But it can become a favorite. For when I shift my focus from my First Parents to gaze instead at God, the tale is a love story that brings me to tears. Genesis 3:8-10:

“They hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'”

“‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'”

Our Heavenly Father began the Rescue Mission of mankind with that one simple act of seeking us… that one simple question. “Where are you?” He could have, with justice, left us to die in our mess… alone.

But He saw our Parent’s shame… understood their fear… knew they were now the “Walking Dead,” lost and without hope. And God had compassion. So He sought our Parents… and us.

After cursing the Serpent (Satan) for his treachery, God chose to not curse our Parents. Instead, He promised our First Mother that she would give birth to a Son, many generations later, that would crush the Serpent. Then He told them about the consequences of their independence from Him, the Giver of Life. It was a hard to pill to swallow, an unimaginable sadness.

They stood there, in their fig leaves, feeling powerless, ashamed and guilty… feeling more than a bit “dirty.” Their world (and ours) would never be the same. It would be filled with pain and sadness. The magnitude of this must have knocked them to their knees in grief. And then…

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

He touched them. He clothed them. He threw away their inadequate and embarrassing fig leaves and He dressed them. He covered them, and in doing so, showed them intimately, with His touch, that He Himself would make everything right again. This cosmic destroying act of theirs would not be greater than His love for them. It would not be greater than His desire and ability to repair.

Our Heavenly Father, full of loving kindness and mercy, took pity on them (and us). And at the right time, while we were still enemies, still rebellious and still sinners… Christ died for us. God’s “forever clothes” in exchange for our fig leaves.

He made the garments, and He dressed them.

Thank you Father for providing my pure and perfect garments in Christ. Thank you for dressing me, for I was unable to even dress myself. I love You, because You first loved me.

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