The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. - Genesis 3:21 (NIV)
We all know about the first humans, Adam and Eve. Tempted by the serpent, the first humans on earth ate the forbidden fruit and fell into sin. The moment they took the first yummy bite, they realised they were naked. Suddenly, something that they were so blissfully unaware of became so uncomfortable for them. Hastily, they gathered fig leaves they could find to make fig clothes for themselves.
What a flimsy material for clothes.
Right then, God takes a walk in the garden to meet his favourite humans. Adam and Eve, full of shame, scurried off to hide. What do you think was on God’s mind as He called them out and met them at where they were? While God did speak both curses towards the serpent and consequences of sin towards mankind, what He did next was fascinating: He made garments. Even though I like to imagine God knitting with needles and yarn, full of tenderness and creativity, who knew what happened? We only know for sure that He made garments of skin.
I can’t imagine an angry God weaving garments. Perhaps He abhorred the shamefulness of man, but if He was offended by Adam and Eve, He’d have left them donning their fig leaves fashion.
Why Did God Make Garments of Skin?
A few years ago, I was working with a humanitarian organisation in Thailand. During the stint, I got to know the Thai housekeeper. She took care of me like a mother and she made sure that I was well taken care of. I enjoyed helping her to clean up the premise together and we built a mother-son bond through that.
Before I left, she told me that she spent three weeks weaving a traditional Hmong cloth for me to bring home to Singapore. She wanted me to use the cloth to make something useful for myself. Her kind act touched me deeply and left such an impression - every day, I watched her spend time weaving the cloth and I thought it was for her family. But she was weaving it for me, a stranger whom she met only 2 months ago.
The Hmong cloth I received looks similar to this.
Watching her weave every day, I know weaving something special for someone takes lots of effort and love. I know it personally too, as I’ve ever tried knitting a phone cover for my wife as a gift. I spent a long time figuring out how to knit with many mistakes along the way, but I wanted to represent my love for her through a handmade gift.
I'm sure that making garments of skin must not have posed any challenge to God! Still, it certainly must have taken time and effort.
Even in God’s anger towards sin, the Father loved His children. His love never ceased. The fig leaves were Adam and Eve’s attempts to cover their shame. In our human brokenness, we do the same today. We use various coping mechanisms to cover up our shame, like seeking false comfort and materialistic gains. We struggle to feel like we are enough or worthy of love. However, God weaves garments of skin to dignify and clothe us as an expression of His love that covers all our sins.
Exchanging our Fig Leaves for His Garments of Skin
This verse in Genesis 3:21 brought me into a deep encounter of the Father's love. For a passage titled “The Fall of Man”, I didn’t expect to find a revelation of God’s fatherly love at the end of the passage.
My first year of ministry with YWAM Thailand was a very painful year for me. At the same time, God started to reveal His Father's love over me and brought me through a deep healing of my past hurts. In response to past hurts and shame, I ran away from issues and chose to be bitter towards others. God was gracious to bring these “fig leaves” coping mechanisms to my attention and helped me to face my brokenness with more compassion. God reassured me that His love for me never changes, despite my brokenness and the brokenness of people around me. When I let go of my fig leaves to receive God’s forgiveness, I could process those hurts with Him without running away. In response, God clothes me with His garment of love, hand-woven with tenderness and creativity.
God wants us to shed our DIY fig leaves covering and receive His garments of skin. Are we still clinging on to our fig leaves? Perhaps due to feelings of shame or guilt, we might think that we are not deserving of God’s hand-woven garments. In my own journey of healing, I had to release the fig leaves from my hands many times. I still need reminders that God loves me as His child and He loves to see me in His garment of righteousness. In times that we feel unclean, we can remember that Father God has washed us clean by the blood of His Son.
Will you choose to release the fig leaves with me?
Jason, together with his wife Sheryl, are YWAM missionaries in Thailand. Their joy is to see how our heavenly Father calls His children back to Himself in Thailand and their passion is to create practical and unique opportunities for the less-privileged.
Serving as the director of Baan Dem Rak, a community centre at the heart of a red-light district in Chiang Mai, Jason focuses on community development and leadership. He also runs a digital services social enterprise that equips youths for employability and generates jobs for locals. Jason constantly strategises about how business and digital skills can transform communities for Christ. Read more about their missionary adventures in their personal blog.
6/25/2021 1:03:46 PM