Fig Leaves and Loincloths

You sense it was an “Oh, what have we’ve done?” moment. She had engaged in the conversation and was deceived. But he was with her and knew exactly what they were doing, thus he acted willfully. And it seems that immediately the radiance of the garden turned grey as shame and fear entered their world. Shame as they became aware of their nakedness. Fear as they contemplated the potential implications of their rebellion and disobedience And they looked at one another and said, “Oh, what have we’ve done?”

God was still in the midst but everything had changed. They heard Him walking in the garden as they had many times before, but now He had intuitively become Someone to avoid, Someone to hide from. They knew His presence as they had before but now it brought fear. And this, despite their fig leaves and loincloths.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

(Genesis 3:6-7 ESV)

Fig leaves and loincloths. It was the best they could come up with. But their self-made coverings did nothing to undo what had been done against God. These designer wraps were useless in removing the shame. They had no power to ease the fear. Fig leaves and loincloths were but man’s best efforts at covering up the awareness of their sin. But even they knew deep down it wasn’t enough. For when they heard God, they hid.

And isn’t that the meta-narrative of religion? Man’s best efforts but still a desire to avoid up-close-and-personal encounters with God. Good works without any certainty that they’re good enough. Seeking to deal with the problem by covering up the problem. Avoiding further exposure of our true selves by hiding from God. If we do enough, deny enough, and hide enough, perhaps it will all work out on the day God calls out, “Where are you?”

But thank God that He has not left us to our own devices to deal with our own shame. Praise the Almighty that we are not left to assuage our own fear. That He waits not for the day of judgment to call out to us, “Where are you?” but even now seeks after those in hiding. Calling to them that they might acknowledge now their guilt. Convicting them of their sin that they might now see the folly of their self-made solutions and instead receive the covering of His making.

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

(Genesis 3:21 ESV)

Garments made of animal skins. Blood shed for sinners to be clothed. Blood shed by the hand of God. A covering fashioned by the design of the Maker. Foreshadowing an eternal solution to man’s eternal problem.

God Himself providing the once-for-all atoning sacrifice for our rebellion. Jesus, the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish, come to take away the sin of the world.

The wages of sin having been paid for by His death, His righteousness then fashioned into a garment for our covering. Shame erased. Fear of judgment removed.

Fig leaves and loincloths, man’s effort at dealing with his sin problem, can never suffice. Only the robe provided at God’s hand can deal with our “what have I done?” failings. Only by receiving the blood shed on our behalf, only by putting on the Righteousness of Another can we again know the communion God desires with those made in His image.

You can have your fig leaves and loincloths. Give me Jesus.

By His grace. For His glory.

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