Part of a normal winter here in upstate New York has a couple of weeks of truly cold weather to accompany the prodigious amounts of snow that falls. This winter is no exception. Today’s high temperature is forecast to be 5 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit my friends!). What has the weather people in an even greater dizzy is the wind-chill factor. That they tell us this will bring the ‘feels like’ temp to -30. I was just outside walking our dog Violet and I can assure you, it is cold outside.
Having lived in this area all my life, I have learned the importance of dressing in layers for protection against this kind of cold, keeping as much skin as possible covered to prevent frostbite. This morning was no different: two pairs of pants, 2 shirts, wool socks, hoodie, hat, insulated jacket, lined boots and insulated gloves. Both Violet (I suppose her fur keeps her warm) and I survived and even enjoyed our morning walk today.
Staying warm in these conditions got me to thinking about this week’s bible study as we will be looking at Genesis Chapter 3. Reading this we see the awful result of Adam and Eve’s falling to the temptation of the serpent. They believed his lie and subsequently got banished from Paradise.
It’s not only that God cast them out, bad as that was, but that they knew they screwed up. Verse 7 of Chapter 3 explains it this way: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (NIV)
There is way more to glean from this chapter that I have space for today, so let’s focus in on the inadequate coverings Adam and Eve made for themselves. If I understand this correctly, their realizing they were naked tells us they were ashamed of what they had done. Because of this, they no longer saw their bodies as just being the way God made them, but rather something objectionable and forbidden, thus making it necessary to cover up what then became inappropriate parts.
Sadly, the world hasn’t learned much since then. We (I include myself), tend to want to hide our imperfections. We feel very exposed if they become known. Same thing with our mistakes: hide them as best we can or try as Adam did to pass the blame on to someone else.
Reading on in Chapter 3, we discover that Adam and Eve knew that their new coverings were not much of a cover-up. The second half of verse 8 tells what they did when they heard God walking toward them: and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (NIV). Not only did they attempt to cover their nakedness, they also tried to hide from God. It amazes me that they (and many of us) think that we can somehow hide our activities from an all-knowing and ever-present God.
Thankfully, our God has a heart that loves us enough to cover our weaknesses. It the case of Adam and Eve, the bible says that, The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 NIV) God saw that what they had made for themselves was woefully inadequate for protection. Wearing garments fashioned by God is certainly preferable to running around with just a few figs leaves on!
Taken a step further, we can see God’s creative work in the protective covering he supplies us through His Son Jesus Christ. Christianity 101 teaches us that it is only by believing that Jesus Christ took our place and died for our sins on the cross that gives us access to spend eternity with God. In essence, it is the Lord’s shed blood that covers us. Only in this way can we be made acceptable to the glorious God of heaven. The Apostle Paul, quoting from Psalm 32 says it this way: Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him. (Romans 4:7-8 NIV) We receive this incredible blessing of forgiveness because God knows we can’t do it for ourselves.
Just as Adam and Eve’s self-made garments proved no real help, neither would flipflops, shorts and a tee shirt be any good against the bitter cold we are experiencing here where I live. And truthfully, even my best layering technique would ultimately fail me if I had to stay outside to long when it is this cold.
The bottom line is this: We are to take care of our outer-selves being mindful of weather conditions and dressing appropriately. It’s nobody’s fault but mine if I go outside in these conditions without gloves to shovel the driveway. The ensuing frost-bitten fingers would be my fault.
Just as we learn how to do the practical with regard to dressing for cold weather, so we must know and believe that the most important covering always and forever is the one the Jesus Christ offers. We cannot cover up or hide from God and the blessing is He doesn’t want us to! Come to Him, just as you are, and allow His love to cover you like no wool garment ever can. His love is an all-season love and it is a perfect fit, just for you!