Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Covers our shame

One of my favorite books growing up was the book of Genesis. It is one of the more popular sections of the Bible for Sunday school classes to focus on, but sadly I think that so often we don’t come back to the stories as adults and miss the truth that is just sitting there before us.

I have been spending my devotional times for the past couple of months in the book of Genesis. I’ve come to love and appreciate the book and the narrative that you find in the beginnings of the book. Genesis in fact is the Greek word meaning just that "beginnings". I believe that this book is meant to be just that.

I would like to spend a couple of weeks breaking down the book and moving from beginning to end, talk about some things that I have noticed and gleaned.

I break the book down into six sections. First there is the Creation narrative, the Flood Narrative, the life of Abraham, the life of Isaac, the life of Jacob and his 12 sons, and then finally the Egypt narrative. Thus the book begins with creation, and ends with an explanation of how the Hebrew nation ends up in Egypt.

Genesis starts with the creation of the world. The first two chapters paint two very different pictures of the creation story, but Moses does not seem to be focusing on the world’s creation but the creation of man. Genesis 1 climaxes with the creation of man. While in Genesis 2 man is created first and everything else is created around him. These chapters side-by-side scream to us that God’s focus in this world is man.

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog titled Naked. This post was subtitled “why clothing isolates us.” I tried to discuss the point that so often because of our fallen nature, we try to find value in who we are because of what we can do and because of how we look. We fail at this because we forget that our value comes from how God views us, and he views each of us as valuable. This is a result of the fall, sin has entered how we think, and has turned us not just against God, but also against each other. Because of our sin, we are constantly trying to prove to each other and to God that we matter that we are valuable, even though this struggle seems to always be tearing us apart.

At the end of Genesis 3 there is an interesting end to the Garden Scene. God has found Man and Woman, he has passed judgment on their actions, and has banished them from the Garden, but he pauses and does one last thing. It says that he makes coverings for the couple out of animal skins.

This is the first recorded death in the Bible, and the one who killed is God. Earlier in chapter 2 Moses records nakedness with shame. This is totally unbelievable; God kills to cover their shame. God is the offended party here, yet he is the one who is repairing the damage. In the ultimate example of foreshadowing, death is the tool that will be used to cover the shame that results from sin.

God’s ultimate creation has been tainted with sin, but God is not content to let his masterpiece to be completely destroyed. The creation narrative shows to us that God will take the first step in restoring his rebellious creation. God immediately set the path to the cross. If you read Genesis 3:15, you see what many believe to be the first prophesy concerning Jesus. God tells the snake “he (referring to the son of woman) will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” You will sting him, but in the end he will have victory.

May you embrace the gift of Jesus - forgiveness that covers all our shame.