I’m reminded of a commercial I saw on T.V. once. Cracked egg shells littered the floor and counter tops. Flour dusted the cupboards and coated the linoleum. Milk was everywhere but in the mixing bowl. The dog was wearing a chocolate face mask and in the center of all the chaos was a little girl with a single paper towel. Sometimes I imagine that God sees us that way, coated in a terrific mess that we alone created, trying to cover it up with a single paper towel.
Much like us, Adam and Eve had the same idea. They figured if they sewed enough fig leaves together, God wouldn’t notice the horrible mess they’d made. The problem with fig leaves is that like the paper towel, they’re not all that durable. They’re on the small side and I imagine are horrible at protecting against insect bites or harsh weather. (And they couldn’t be very comfortable either!) I’m sure the Lord must have chuckled at their feeble attempt to fix things by themselves. Then immediately following their fashion class, they played the blame game.
“It’s his fault!” “No, it’s her fault! She started it!”
“Quiet, you two! Now I’m going to have to punish you. Adam, I hate to say this but you’ll be working for a living from now on until you die. Eve, honey I’m so sorry but your monthly cycles are going to be a bit more painful than you’re used to. I’m also going to have to take that hatchet from you.”
“You might want to avert your eyes while I kill this goat. You see, a sacrifice has to be made now so that you’re covered properly. I appreciate the effort but you just can’t go around wearing fig leaves. It isn’t dignified. There, now that should be just fine. Don’t you look beautiful! You go, girl!”
And so it was that Eve became the very first woman to care about fashion and live in a man’s world.
I love the way God solves problems. First, he asks what happened, giving us a chance to explain ourselves, proving that he does care about what comes out of our mouths. Then he passes judgment and serves a suitable punishment. After that he gently restores us to himself. He alone is able to provide the proper garment, and he alone is the only one worthy to dress us. He knows exactly what we need and where it’s supposed to go. Adam and Eve dressed themselves in a very flimsy covering when what they really needed was goatskin. No longer did they need to hide in shame or disgrace. They were free to live in their new attire, loved by God but punished justly.
Are you still wearing your fig leaves? Or have you allowed God to cover you in something a bit more lasting? Do you still wander the world in guilt and shame when God already created the perfect garment for you? Are you wearing fig leaves or goatskin?
Someone once told me that a mother’s guilt is her own curse. It follows her around everywhere, relentless and unyielding. She sews the fig leaves to cover it but still it remains even though the Father has already fashioned a stunning dress of righteousness for her to adorn whenever she wishes. She has to remind herself that she does have a choice about her wardrobe. Which will she choose?
There are things about my past that I’m haunted by on a regular basis. I have to constantly choose which covering I’m going to put on because the shame can be very overpowering at times. I have to remind myself that I have a choice.
God also clothes us in many other attractive outfits. Check out these creations!
Psalm 30:11- You have turned my mourning into dancing. You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
Isaiah 61:10- I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with robes of righteousness.
Not only these, but someday I get to look forward to a whole new closet full of treasures in heaven.
1 Corinthians 5:1-4
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
If you’re still wearing your fig leaves, I’d like to encourage you to take them off. Allow the Lord to cover you in something more lasting. He cares enough that he wants you to be dignified and pleased with yourself, not cowering in shame and disgrace. And as long as you belong to him, he doesn’t remember your past anyway. Your sins are under the ocean floor and have no business roaming around in your head. Remove the fig leaves and liberate yourself! Try on that gown of righteousness, peace, and joy and strut your stuff, baby! Dang, you look good!
I appreciate the way you deliver His Truth. You write straight from the heart and have a great understanding of Our Father. You reminded me of a verse: Zephaniah 3:5 "The Lord within her is righteousness." That is the garment that we must choose daily to put on. The Lord within us is Love and Power and so many things. Thank you for sharing this lesson.
I loved your little sermon Sherry. Isn't it amazing that God as a singel parent didn't like what His kids were wearing either! When they got all leaved out, they leaved out the most imporant thing, they leaved out, I'M SORRY DAD! They could have saved us all alot of pain and suffering. (smile) I love you, Sharon
Dear Sherry... You are a tremendous writer and have such an awesome faith that you share so well in your writing! This particular sermon touched me deeply because I wear far too many fig leaves. I keep punishing myself for sins of the past and can't seem to give myself permission to clothe myself in God's finer garments. Because of your sermon I think I may be getting closer to a having a 'better wardrobe'! Keep writing for you an extraordinary gift and a powerful faith and THAT is a combination that will glorify the Lord and tend His Sheep. God bless you! Love, Peggy