Who Told You that You Were Naked?

(I want to let everyone know I give permission for anyone to copy my blog posts and do whatever they want with them.)

The vast majority of people in the world do not want to walk around naked. For one thing, unless you are a movie star, your body isn’t flawless. How would we behave if someone came up to us and stripped off our clothes while we were at the mall or walking down the sidewalk? Embarrassed and ashamed are the first words that pop into my mind.

I was listening to Hunter Beless’s podcast, “Journeywoman,” last week. (My absolute favorite podcast.) She had Nancy Guthrie on as a guest. They were talking about Ms. Guthrie’s book, “Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story.” During the conversation, they talked about Adam and Eve’s nakedness after they sinned. That got me thinking.

I have seen many paintings of Adam and Eve done by long gone famous artists. In every one, Adam and Eve are walking around the Garden of Eden stark naked. This has always felt weird to me, because Adam and Eve themselves thought they had clothes on!

Here is an excerpt from the Bible:

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 

 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ 

God said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’

(Now begins the blame game.) The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’  Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”    Genesis 3:8-13

Apparently, Adam and Eve were covered with something. You can see from the story that they hid from God’s sight because they were ashamed of their nakedness. I would guess they had been clothed with garments like the angels wear: white, bright and beautiful.

Why did these garments disappear? Because they had chosen to betray God and listen to a snake rather than him. They had turned against him by desiring to also be gods. When they did this, the covering from God left them.

This event is actually an allegory of what happens to us when we spurn God and go our own way through life. We are like soldiers going out to battle naked and alone. We have no defense against our enemies, human or spiritual.

But God can be our defense. As he made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins, so he will clothe us with the blood of Jesus. Those animals had to die so Adam and Eve could be covered. Jesus had to die so we could be covered with his sacrifice. The penalty for turning from God is eternal death, because if you choose to live without God, there is no life after death here. God is the creator of all life and without him we cannot live.

 But Jesus took that doom for us on the cross. He said to his father, “I will take their place and give them a way of escape. I will be nailed, naked on a cross, and anyone who comes to me for covering will one day come to heaven and live with us forever.” (My own words.)

Jesus did die naked on a cross. He was naked and bleeding, hung between heaven and earth, taking the fate of the human race upon himself.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

There is a scene of heaven with God on his throne that Zechariah, the prophet saw. This scene shows the transfer of death to life for Joshua, the high priest at that time.

Zechariah 3:1-5

Then the angel showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, with Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

And the LORD said to Satan: “The LORD rebukes you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you! Is not this man a firebrand snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy garments as he stood before the angel. So, the angel said to those standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes!”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have removed your iniquity, and I will clothe you with splendid robes.”

Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So, a clean turban was placed on his head, and they clothed him, as the angel of the LORD stood by.

I pray we will all accept this offer of forgiveness and acceptance from God. He is longing for you to accept him. Please give him a chance to show you what he is like.

What’s in A Name?

Philippians Chapter 2: 5-11: In my own words.

“In your relationships with others, have the same mind that was in Jesus. Even though he was equal with the Father, he did not consider grabbing hold or keeping that equality. But he made himself into nothing by taking the form of a servant and becoming a human being. When he was born here, he humbled himself by being obedient to his Father, which included his death on a cross.

Because of this, God lifted him up to the highest place and gave him the name above all names. So that at the name of Jesus, everyone will eventually bow down, those in heaven, on earth and in the entire universe. Every mouth will say Jesus the Messiah is I Am, to the glory of the Father.”

I once read, I wish I remembered where, that when Lucifer and other angels rebelled against God, they at first only had God’s word that he was all wise and all good. They knew no other life than the one they were living in heaven. Isaiah chapter 14 explains to us what was in Lucifer’s heart. He wanted to have the power and authority of God. I am sure God warned him what would happen if he went off on his own, but God, believing in complete freedom, let him go.

Without God’s Spirit in his life, Lucifer became evil. His thoughts were bent on revenge towards God. If he couldn’t be master in heaven, he hoped to become master of this world. Adam and Eve also doubted God’s love, and when they sinned they handed their rulership of the world over to Lucifer. They wanted knowledge God had not given to them. They chose this new king who would give them the knowledge of evil.

But the plan of God was to send Jesus to save this world. He couldn’t save Lucifer, or he would have, but he could save some of humankind if they would change their allegiance from evil to good. And so, the plan of salvation was begun. When on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished,” he meant the plan was concluded. He had done all he could to show man and the universe that God was a God of love, sacrifice and compassion.

Now all of us can look upon good and evil and make a clear choice. The Holy Spirit brings light to every man, the Bible says. Even if someone has never heard the gospel, if they follow the light within them, they can be saved from the power of evil in this world. The plan of salvation is for everyone in every corner of the earth. One day, those who follow the Spirit of God will be together in heaven praising the name of Jesus. The name above all names.

Who Am I in this Divided Universe?

Photo by Lycaon Nabla.

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

After years of being a Christian, and learning that I could do nothing truly good without Jesus, I wondered then wo I was in the mix of good and evil.

The Bible says we are slaves to sin. Slaves have no choice to be a slave or not.

 “We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

So, I thought, “If, when I am born, I am a slave to sin, which I believe is true, and then become a slave or servant of God, then who am I really?

I read something recently that I think has answered this question. Someone wrote, “God will make you into the person he created you to be.” The Bible also says that he created me in the womb of my mother.

So, God created me as a beautiful, innocent baby. I was also a unique baby. There was none other like me. He looked on me with love and compassion. He gave me certain gifts and abilities.

But after I was born, my mind and heart were slowly shaped by the world I was in. And because there was evil, because of the first sin, then my mind was bent towards evil. Then my parents made mistakes, my father abused me, my sister was jealous of me, kids at school were mean to me, I attended a church that shaped my thinking about who God was, and I was afraid of him.

So, there I was, an adult with warped thinking. Was that who God created me to be? No. He created me to walk with him and be his child. He created me to have joy, peace and love. He created me to love and help others.

He also gave me freedom to choose him as my father or to say, “No, thanks.” He put his light inside me so that I knew what was right or wrong and let me choose what I wanted in my life. He never forced me, but he called me:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore, I have drawn you with loving kindness.  Jeremiah 31:3

“The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world.”  John 1:9

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

“Look, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20

I understand who I am now and am content. More than content, I am thrilled to be God’s child. It isn’t easy for those who are afraid of God to learn a new way of thinking about him; but it is possible through prayer and Bible study. Learning about God and why we are here is a life-long journey, but such a wonderful one.

Know Thyself.

Lilien_Hiskia

Many times I have not known myself. When I was in my twenties and divorced, my ex-husband had a girlfriend and lived with her. My daughters would go visit and I hated the fact my ex wasn’t married and living like that. I thought, “I would never have someone come sleep with me with  my daughters in the house!”  Two years later, I did just that.

After a few incidents like that, I was finally humbled to realize I was capable of any sin, no matter what I thought. One day at church we were singing, “I Will Not be Shaken,” and I turned to my mother and said, “On the other hand, who knows WHAT I will do?”

Jesus told Peter, “You will deny me.”  Peter was horrified and said he would never do that. He said he was willing to die with him. The other disciples said the same. We know how that turned out. 

I wondered if God sometimes lets us fall flat on our face so we can see how weak and sinful we are. It humbles us and we realize how we must have Jesus do everything for us. He can keep us from falling, if we acknowledge we have no strength to do it ourselves.

I came across the story of Hezkekiah the other day. It says that God left Hezekiah to show him what was truly in his heart. Verse 26 says his heart was full of pride. The commentaries I read were good and I’m including them.

“And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.”   2 Chronicles 32:31

Matthew Poole’s Commentary

God left him, to wit, to himself, and his own impotency and corruption. God withdrew from him those supplies and assistance of his Spirit which would certainly and effectually have kept him from that sin, and suffered Satan to tempt him, and him to fall into the sin of pride and ostentation. 

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.

 God left Hezekiah to himself, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, what was in his heart might be known; that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always live in dependence upon Divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leaves us to ourselves. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up. What need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves; but beg earnestly of God, that he will always keep them humble! Hezekiah made a bad return to God for his favors, by making even those favors the food and fuel of his pride.

Jesus Enveloped in Sin, Within and Without.

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Although I had known Jesus became sin for us, that he took our sins upon his heart, I didn’t think about the depth of that until I read these two verses explained.

 “And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”    Mark 14:33,34

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/mark/14.htm

“He began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled…” (e)kqambei = sqai kai\ a)dhmonei = n).  These two Greek verbs are as adequately expressed above as seems possible. The first implies “utter, extreme amazement;” if the second has for its root ἄδημος, “not at home,” it implies the anguish of the soul struggling to free itself from the body under the pressure of intense mental distress.” 

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 34. – “None but he who bore those sorrows can know what they were. It was not the apprehension of the bodily torments and the bitter death that awaited him, all foreknown by him. It was the inconceivable agony of the weight of the sins of men. The Lord was thus laying “upon him the iniquity of us all.” This, and this alone, can explain it. My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.’ Every word carries the emphasis of an overwhelming grief. It was then that “the deep waters came in,” even unto his soul. “What,” says Cornelius a Lapide, “must have been the voice, the countenance, the expression, as he uttered those awful words!”

Jesus sweat drops of blood that night. He said he was at the point of death. An angel came and strengthened him or he might have died there in Gethsemane.

This was the sin within him.

From the time of his arrest until he died on the cross, Jesus was surrounded by sin of every type.

Cruelty, cowardice, envy, betrayal, mocking, hatred, torture, slapping, beating, lies, indifference, pride, unbelief, anger, and injustice.

This was the sin without him.

For a pure and holy person, being surrounded by evil must have been horrible. Realize also, he loved all the people there who were causing him such pain. It would be like us having our parents or children abuse us. Some of us have lived through that, it’s true. Jesus did too on the night and day of his trial and death.

Someday, when we are in heaven, we will see what Jesus left to become one of us, to suffer untold agony and to die feeling all alone.

Here are some extra Bible verses: 

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—“   Galatians 3:13

“But 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.  Isaiah 53:5

“Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”   Hebrews 9:28

Do You Know Who You Really Are?

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Photo by: Runner1928

I remember being at church one Sabbath and everyone was singing, “I Will Not Be Shaken.” The chorus repeats those words quite a few times, “I will not be shaken.”  I stopped singing, turned to my mother and said, “On the other hand, who knows what I’ll do?”

I had finally learned I didn’t know myself. That day, I really had no idea if I would continue to live to honor God or not. I had fallen too many times to be confident.

Peter didn’t know himself. He said to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you; I will never disown you.” Mark 14:31  He did disown Jesus. Three times.

I also remember a time at a camp-meeting when a pastor said, “Everyone rise who will promise to keep the Sabbath day holy.” It looked like everyone in the whole auditorium stood up. I didn’t rise, and neither did my mom. We had both found out the hard way our promises to God meant nothing.

I guess, no, I know, this is a good thing. When a Christian realizes what an idiot she can be, it’s always a good thing. Pride kind of falls to the ground. Not that it won’t try to crawl up again, but at least it has been badly beaten up.

My husband told me when he became a Christian, he thought he would never sin again. Then he grabbed some guy by the throat because of something. As he was choking him, he felt God calm him down. He said he took his hands away, patted the guy on the chest and said he was sorry. He said, “From that moment on, I knew I wasn’t going to be perfect.”

This is something many Christians find out to their disappointment. And the longer you live, the more the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you. But like Joyce Meyer, I am now glad when God shows me my shortcomings and sins. I know he is doing it for my good. I want to do and say the right things and God knows that about me. So I pray about what he has shown me and ask him to help. He always does and I feel no condemnation.