In Genesis, Adam and Eve gain the knowledge of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. What did they immediately do? They found something to clothe themselves with (Genesis 3).
When David chose to fight Goliath, what did Saul offer David for battle? He offered David his armor (I Samuel 17).
“Silk suit, black tie, I don’t need a reason why (ZZ Top).”
I have long pondered the reason for Adam and Eve’s clothing. It seems like a silly thing. Today we cloth ourselves daily. It’s an acceptable act in society to wear clothes. We have fashion shows parading all the latest styles and adornments in fashion. We pay a lot of money for quality brands of clothing. We use clothing to identify ourselves.
Cultures and sub-cultures are identified by clothing. Punk was identified by torn up jeans and t-shirts of subversive bands. Suits communicate professionalism, success, and power. As the song goes, “Every girl is crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man (ZZ Top).”
Why did Adam and Eve suddenly need to clothe themselves? Their innocence was gone. Could it have been the first time they had felt shame? Their thoughts revealed new opportunities to use the weaknesses of the other against them. They now had the knowledge to use ‘bad’. They now knew and entertained bad thoughts. It wasn’t just offensive; it was also defensive. They now knew the other’s ability to hurt them, just as they could hurt the other.
I watch my two-year-old daughter who is wrestling with her emotions. Can you imagine being an adult and feeling emotion for the first time, not sure what or why you were feeling? She reacts out of a feeling she has. The basic needs as babies comes out as a cry; hunger, pain, frustration, and fear can only be communicated with tears. She has grown, and as she learns new words, she finds new ways to communicate.
She is also learning about new emotions like jealousy, love, anger, and want (selfishness). She is counting on me and her mother to help her understand how to react with these emotions. She also needs help to understand how to communicate her emotions, including disappointment. When something is taken from her, does she hit or bite? When she is disappointed or angry, can she lose her mind? Is it okay to rage and scream? What does the process of calming down look like? This may be the most valuable lesson she learns in her life, dealing with the relationship between emotions and behavior. Does she share even though she wants all the toys all the time? When she sees her sisters using one of her toys, she collects them until her arms are overflowing, scowls at her sisters and says “no, no.” She may not be playing with it, but she knows it’s hers. She is learning to share and take turns. Even when it’s hers.
She also likes being naked. Although when she is naked, it can lead to a mess. She does not yet understand the concept of the potty. She is learning, but it can be a real mess. When adults are naked, it can lead to a mess as well. We adults tend to cover ourselves emotionally and literally.
David accepted the challenge of fighting Goliath. Saul put his armor on David, but it was far too large. Saul in this account is similar to many people. When we fight Goliaths in our lives, we want to go to battle in armor. We carry emotional armor around every day. Like Adam and Eve, we feel vulnerable. We have deep wounds from our past, you might call these, emotional walls or barriers to keep people at a distance. We develop fear of letting anyone too close. The armor becomes more ornate and heavier, thicker.
David left the armor, he knew it wouldn’t help him, worse it would make the task more difficult. He lay it aside. David didn’t need a defense, he had complete faith in God.
This is easy to say. It’s more difficult to live out.
The battle may be a need for the latest pair of shoes. It may be an ignorant comment from someone casting judgement on you. It may be an unkind word that sets us off. It may be the stress of losing a job in the middle of a pandemic. It may be the added stress of teaching our children from home online. We face battles every day.
For the first time, Adam and Eve no longer trusted God with their welfare. They were suddenly aware of all the potential dangers God had been shielding them from. I’m reminded of Balam and his donkey. It’s a side story that was happening unknown to Israel. God was protecting them and shielding them as they wandered through the wilderness. God protects us beyond what we know or understand. We may be facing a hardship now, as Israel constantly complained about in the wilderness, and God is working to open opportunities beyond our vision or understanding.
David faced the giant, some would say, with his sling. David only used the tools he knew, the tools of a shepherd. He didn’t carry a sword. I would argue, he didn’t even need the sling. All he needed and counted on was God. That was the difference between Saul and David. Saul actually believed he was king on his own merit. He counted on his heavy armor and weapons of war.
He was only king because God made him king.
Being naked is terrifying due to our vulnerability. I’m speaking emotionally of course. As a society we are not ready for the world to be physically naked. I am not arguing for an exodus of our clothing. I am arguing for faith in God to care for us. Also, to be clear, I am not arguing to be lazy and expect success to drop in our lap. I am arguing to read Matthew chapter five through chapter seven. The sermon on the mount is Jesus’ manifesto. He tells us what a Christian is, what the Kingdom of God looks like.
Faith in God is required to succeed in life. If you feel you’re in hell, the decisions to take you out of hell are found in Matthew chapters five through seven. Paul tells us to replace our emotional armor with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Paul encourages us to cloth ourselves with honesty, peace, righteousness, faith, salvation, and Scripture. When we deal with job losses, judgmental or gossipy people, we are to have faith God is moving and working. Look for opportunities God is providing, allow Him to be your light on the path.
“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).”