Stripped of Glory

In the Biblical account of Adam and Eve, ever wonder how that happened?

“Then the eyes of them were opened, and they knew they were naked…” Genesis 3:7a (CSB)

How did their perception so radically change?

I mean, they had the same body, same skin, etc. It wasn’t like “everything” started sagging and joint pain set in. Eve’s torso didn’t grow “love handles” and her hips didn’t automatically widened (She had not even had a baby yet!). And Adam? He didn’t suddenly pop out a “pot belly,” develop “love handles,” or even grow excessive ear hair. Time would allow for those curses to develop.

So, what was it exactly that aligned their conscience with being exposed in their natural habitat, the Garden of Eden?

               They tasted.        (v.6)
               They saw.            (v.7)
               They knew.         (v.7)
               They made.         (v.7)
               They heard.         (v.8)
               They hid.              (v.8)

The stripping away of glory!

Naked was a word never previously applied to their existence. A concept they had not personally possessed, nor did their conscience have to consider. Adam and Eve had been brought into existence and fashioned in glory. God had blessed their reflective nature of glory, and saw them with a superlative intensity as “very good.” The world they had known was perfectly harmonious with their individual self, one another, and other creatures.

But suddenly, a change happened within them. Swift and sudden. The knowledge of evil was abrupt. The knowledge of evil brought change. Adam and Eve experienced for the first time, but not the last, what a world stripped of glory would unveil. For the first time they found themselves working for themselves. And it would not be good… And it still isn’t!

Life would be a mere shadow of what was experienced in perfection. However, isn’t it amazing how just the smallest flicker of light is needed to restore a shadow’s presence? So too, though a shadowy remnant of our Eden existence remains, as image bearers of God, humanity still flickers the hope of glory our identity is made to possess. But, in the moments when darkness consumes, even the shadow of glories that remain can seem to disappear from view.

As light holds the promise of colors, so promise carries the light of hope. As Adam and Eve would come to know, hope is a colorful remnant in the soul. Hope, that life now is not what it was made for. A promise is often not immediately worked out. A promise is slow in coming, but sure. God would expose Himself within the covenant of promise to give hope that all things would be made new.

The trouble is there are times when God’s presence seems gone.
We forget His omnipresence.

The trouble is there are times when we try and hide in our knowledge.
We forget His omniscience.

The trouble is there are times when we make our own solutions.
We forget His omnipotence.

The trouble is there are the times we feel the weight of our soul stripped of glory, our identity lost.
We forget God sees, God hears, and God provides.

When His face is invisible, and His voice not even a whisper, we feel vulnerable and exposed. Our soul stripped of its fullness under glory, we too are tempted to look toward the material things around us.

Innovation doesn’t escape us. We look for ideas to fix things. Creativity doesn’t abandon us. We get busy to procure a solution. Our work becomes much like plucking fig leaves to fashion a disguise from what we don’t want to see or feel anymore. But, can we recognize this as the bare reality of the nature of things, the stripped glory in one another on naked exhibition?

  • What is my fig leaf?
  • What is my go to?
  • What is the convenient thing I turn to and use to provide a temporary fix?
  • What is a remedy I make, and then am forced to settle with,
    “Well, this is ‘good enough’?”

“They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
Genesis 3:7b (CSB)

Adam and Eve invented a “solution,” and creatively repurposed an abundant resource, leaves. Organic Fig Clothes. Human ingenuity.

In today’s time:

  • Would that picture go viral?
  • Would you “like” with a thumb’s up? or
  • Would you give a rave review for quick witted survival instincts?

I wonder if Adam and Eve every revisited that moment (sewing the figs leaves) and discussed their vain attempt of a substitute for nakedness? Their attempts were not exactly a Vogue runway moment, but rather a run-away moment. Did somber reflection overcome them? Or, maybe that memory gave way to discovering how often they still found themselves resorting back to a “quick-fix mentality,” and fashioning materialistic ideals.

Certainly they longed for the whole glory once again to be theirs. But Adam and Eve had to learn, as we have to do, to wait by clinging to the promises of God. You see glory exists beyond matter. “How long, O Lord? How long?” chant the psalmist and prophets. Trust for God to show up, for glory to be known again was the daily attire they would now have to “put on” again and again (the covenant’s covering).

 Without doubt, trust was there at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. Glory and trust are not mutually exclusive. It is just that trust, in the here and now, is in competition with our desires. Deception had severed trust. Not an ignorant or blind trust, but a relational trust. We too doubt God’s Word and promises because we contain knowledge of everything NOT included in the divine superlative, “Very good!”

In the making of the “fig leave clothing,” we see the familiar knee jerk reaction to “do what was right in their eyes.” Adam and Eve understood the problem. While all their “makings” seemed like the right thing to do in the moment, the Lord knew the heart of the matter (Proverbs 21:2). They had not attended to God’s word to discern the deception. They had not sought the Lord for the solution.

In Hebrew there is a word, asah (aw-sah) which means to do, make. This word occurs frequently in the Scriptures, and is fundamental to understanding human identity and what we are made for. You see, we were not created (fashioned) to be stripped of glory. We were “put in order” to dwell in the light of the glory of God. When the knowledge of evil’s darkness consumed Adam and Eve, making them vulnerable, exposed, and putting them to shame, even here in the midst of their trouble the Lord sought them out to ask a powerful question.

Genesis 3:13 (CSB)
So the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done (asah)?”

The Lord knew exactly what they, and we, would need. Darkness could not overcome what God had ordained. God Himself would provide and make (asah) a covering. Darkness could not clone “God’s image” into evil’s own making. God’s arrival signaled a rescue. A hope woven by love.

The Lord God made (asah) clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and He clothed them. Genesis 3:21 (CSB)

God Himself, the light of the world, would come and redeem what evil had sought to steal away, the glory of the Lord. But, there is something that evil did not know, love. Nothing could separate us from God’s love (Romans 8, especially verses 38-39). Love is a gift to life. The creation of life is a power evil cannot possess. So, evil can never give a glorious kind of love. Love is a power within the “art of life.” The glory of love, is the “direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something.”1 Love is deliberate and devout. “After the curse, love and joy were now in competition with sin and judgment for dominion over humanity.” (p. 39, Leah Unveiled)

John 1:1-5 (CSB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

We must strive to look beyond the naked reality of this world, and see the otherwise invisible glory that surrounds us. We must fight to trust. We have to “put on” (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to see as Jesus sees. “Faith is a choice. Love is a choice. Hope is a choice” (p.14, Leah Unveiled). The promise, held in belief, and a HOPE to give us flight on the wings of the morning and savor the coming of glory, as the prophet Isaiah recorded,

Isaiah 40:21-31 (CSB)
21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you
from the beginning?
Have you not considered
the foundations of the earth?
22 God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He reduces princes to nothing
and makes judges of the earth like a wasteland.
24 They are barely planted, barely sown,
their stem hardly takes root in the ground
when he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.

25 “To whom will you compare me,
or who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
26 Look up and see!
Who created these?
He brings out the stars by number;
he calls all of them by name.
Because of his great power and strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Jacob, why do you say,
and Israel, why do you assert,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my claim is ignored by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never becomes faint or weary;
there is no limit to his understanding.
29 He gives strength to the faint
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Youths may become faint and weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
31 but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.

Certainly, the walking by faith with our Lord is absolutely different on this side of Eden. But God. He has reconciled glory, and restored our glory to grant us the ability to walk again beside Him. Though as sorrows build, and worries plunder who I know God to be, there is a paradox with what I may feel. Hope and love are concepts I must grapple with. My courage at times may be weakened, and my “nakedness” can catch me by surprise, but there is a refuge of release. A question to ask,

“What Wondrous Love is This?”

So may I “put on” the hope that clothes my soul with peace. Today, today I will face my stripping of glory and trade fig leaves for a prayer.

Morning Dedication*
ALMIGHTY GOD,
As I cross the threshold of this day
   I commit myself, soul, body,
   affairs, friends, to thy care;

Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to thy ways;
Mold me wholly into the image of Jesus,
   as a potter forms clay;
May my lips be a well-tuned harp
   to sound thy praise;

Let those around see me living by the Spirit,
   trampling the world underfoot,
   unconfirmed to lying vanities,
   transformed by a renewed mind,
   clad in the entire armor of God,
   shining as a never-dimmed light,
   showing holiness in all my doings.

Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel miry paths with a life pure form spot
   or stain.
In needful transactions let my affection
   be in heaven,
  and my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
  my gaze fixed on unseen things,
  my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility,
   mockery of earth and its vanities.
May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
  waiting for the coming of my Lord,
  listening for the last trumpet call,
  hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications
     according to thy wisdom,
  and to the gain of mutual good.
Forbid that I should not be profited
   or made profitable.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
   and walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today,
   let this be my best day.

*Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.

1The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, Lexical Aids to the New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D, agapao (25) word explanation.

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