Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Tender Love of God : The Business of Christian Education XXXVI

וַיַּעַשׂ֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים לְאָדָ֧ם וּלְאִשְׁתּוֹ֛ כָּתְנ֥וֹת ע֖וֹר וַיַּלְבִּשֵֽׁם

Which means:

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and (he) clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

There was a young boy who did a terrible thing. He burned his father’s house. The fire killed his mother and his four siblings, and destroyed the entire property. Only ashes remained. The boy was nearly killed as well, but he managed to escape the fire, but his clothes were burnt. His father came home and found him naked in front of the piles of rubble, which used to be his home. When he found out that his son had caused this tragedy, he was furious and engulfed in sadness at the same time, for in one day he lost his wife and his four lovely children. His son disobeyed his simple command: “Do not play fire in the house, for it will burn down the house and destroy everything.”

If you are the father, what would you do? In the midst of your fury toward your son, and the sorrow and agony for the lost of your loved ones, what would you do to your son?

The joy and laughs and love that used to fill his house is now gone. Only silence and pain filled his imagination. The peace that used to reign in his family is now disrupted by the image of
flames burning his family. The beautiful colors that used to decorate his memory are now darkened with the blackness of ashes. The fragrant smell of flowers is now replaced by the stinking smell of burning rubbles. He looked at the only one remained from the perfect home, his son, who also was the cause of all this. Despite his unsettled feeling, he took off his own clothes and clothed his son who was standing naked in front of him. The heaven and the earth are witnesses of the tender love of the father toward his son.

God gave a vivid command to Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day he eats it he will certainly die (Genesis 2:17). The command was broken in Genesis 3, which resulted in God punishing the serpent, and Adam and Eve. The entire world suffers ever since. The destruction that was ushered in is still haunting the world today. Everywhere we witness evil. The death of our loved ones breaks our hearts inevitably. Injustice is rampant in the world. Corruption causes great suffering to many nations. Everyday people lost hope of life because of famine and pandemic. Poverty ravages the land and destroys the naïve. The rich and powerful manipulates and enslaves the needy. Nature marches against humankind. Earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunami, hurricanes, and all other natural disasters overwhelm the world every year. Death has become the reward to all mankind. Death stays with us since the Fall. God was angry and sad at the same time. His broken heart we can never comprehend. God has to do something to save us. And that something he does breaks his heart even more. He has to sacrifice his one and only Son. Through the death of Jesus Christ, God forgives us. Jesus died for us so we will not need to die. The ultimate condemnation for disobeying a direct command of the Almighty was taken up by Jesus Christ on our behalf through his obedience. The sacrifice of His one and only Son encases the love of God to us.

With all that in clarity before God, his gentle hands made garments of skin for Adam and Eve. I believe God made the most beautiful clothing that day. If humans can create beautiful garments today, no doubt God could create a million times more beautiful garments than what we can. Versace, Christian Dior, Gucci, and all those world famous designers can’t compete with the LORD, the God of heaven and earth.

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30)

Adam and Eve wore the most beautiful garments humans could ever imagine of making that very day they caused the fall of the world. For even Solomon in all his glory could not outshine the beauty of the lilies of the field. If we could find the garments God made for Adam and Eve that day, we would be in complete awe of its design. Those were not labeled with human names, but with the name of God. From that prototype, all humans on earth have learned how to create beautiful clothes. However, “the garment of holiness” that was lost was even more beautiful than any garments can be made from the earthly materials. The first clothing God made for Adam and Eve was made in earth, but the one lost was made in heaven (Genesis 1:26-27).

God did not just make the garments for them, but with gentleness he clothed them. When we see a baby just born, naked, the first act of love from the parents was to clothe the baby. So with tender love God clothed Adam and Eve. He replaced the ugly garment design Adam and Eve made from leaves and bushes. For God wanted Adam and Eve to still have the dignity and honor as son and daughter of the Almighty. Do you remember the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32? In verse 22 Luke records:

But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.”

The son returned to his father and he was in terrible condition. But, his father forgave him by clothing him with the best robe and ring and shoes. Such gesture from the father restores the dignity of the lost son. God did the same thing to Adam and Eve and thus to the rest of us. God already forgave Adam and Eve when he clothed them, and thus he restored their dignity and honor. Such is an act of love that God did to Adam and Eve, even after they caused havoc in the world.

God did not stop at covering Adam and Eve with the best garments humans can ever imagine, but he has planned on clothing us with the spiritual garments, which is the glory in Jesus Christ. The love of God no one can measure, no one can fathom. Praise be to God, forever and ever.

1 comment:

maria yang said...

very deep thought and unique perspective. Thank u for sharing.