Ever read or listen to a Bible passage that you’re so familiar with, that you miss some very relevant details? I wish I could say that I always read or listen to the Bible with expectancy and focus each and every time, but I don’t. God often uses anomalies to get my attention. We live in a world that is full of familiarity and distractions and it’s easy to lose focus.
During church this Sunday, Pastor Bryan was teaching from Genesis. I’ve heard the story of Adam and Eve for most of my life so it was easy to drift into a state of familiarity: God provided everything for Adam and Eve in the most beautiful of settings. They lacked nothing; all was provided for them. But, He gave one command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The story hasn’t changed and we all know the ending. They believed the lie of the serpent, disobeyed God’s command, were punished and banished, and everyone was then born into sin.
Was I familiar with the fact that they were naked? Yep! Scripture tells us in Genesis 2:25 – “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” And later in Genesis 3:7 – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
Was I familiar with the fact that these Scriptures refer to two different definitions of “naked”? No. The first reference is naked, bare or nude (unashamed). The second referred to naked and helpless (shamed). And that anomaly caused me to press in and focus. See God had something for me to hear and He didn’t want me to miss it.
As the rest of the “familiar” story goes, Adam and Eve attempted to cover their shame and sin with fig leaves sewn together. But man’s feeble attempt is nothing compared to God’s grace to set us free. God in His lovingkindness and mercy not only covered them in clothing from animal skin, but He also gave us insight into His future provisions.
The guilt of their sin could only be covered by the sacrifice of the innocent (animal). Likewise, our sins can only be covered by the shed blood of our innocent Jesus, which is why we should only be clothed with Christ.
Getting back to Pastor Bryan’s teaching, he pointed out that God still provided for Adam and Eve even when they messed up!! And because God is the same yesterday, today and always, He still provides for us even when we mess up. Can I get an Amen?!
For me this was HUGE because I’m a “recovering striver”. Psalm 46:10 is one of my life verses and it says, “Be still and know I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Another translation says, “Cease striving and know I am God.”
When God gives you a promise, He will definitely fulfill it because it’s His word and His word will not return void. It will accomplish what He pleases and purposes and it will prosper in the thing for which God sent it (Is. 55:11). But between the promise spoken and the promise fulfilled, there is a process.
I often looked at the fulfillment of the promise as the actual provision and therefore missed ALL of the provisions along the way. And when the process seemed too long to reach the promised result, I would often fall into striving, somehow believing I had to do everything perfect in order to receive His promise. This was a habit I have worked very hard at breaking but it can still taunt me. But thanks to the anomaly I heard in Sunday’s message, I now have another weapon to wield backed up by the Word of God.
Phil. 4:19 – “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:32 – “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold firmly to the hope we confessed, because we can trust God to do what He promised.”
God is always reaching out to us to show us His mysteries. We just need to turn aside and focus so we don’t miss it.