Have you ever heard a sermon or lesson that just stuck? As you listened, you were captivated and hooked on every word. And now, months or years later, you still remember it. I heard one of those messages almost exactly a year ago. It was one of those messages I think changed my life. The speaker chose two verses that I have not heard preached before or taught since. He chose Genesis 2:15 & 3:1a which says,
“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field the Lord God had made.”
Without the chapter break between these two verses, they seem rather strange next to each other. Genesis is indeed telling a story, but why did the author make the transition we see here?
The speaker who taught on these verses told us that the two words I have bolded above are almost identical in Hebrew. I don’t know Hebrew, so I will have to take his word for it, but I certainly do know that the two ideas behind these words have great significance in the story of the Bible and great significance in my life today.
Naked – unclothed, unprotected, vulnerable, undisguised, blatant. Naked is a strange idea. Sometimes we desire it and other times we will do anything in our power to avoid it.
Crafty – clever, skillful, deceitful, indirect, subtle. Crafty is also a strange idea. We often welcome craftiness and other times we despise it with all that we are.
As the speaker proposed, and as I see now, these words aren’t describing our clothing and ability to hot-glue. These words describe our souls. Adam and Eve were indeed physically naked and intimate, but they, as beings created in God’s image, were wholly exposed before him and each other. This part of the story happens before they give into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so, they knew God and they placed themselves before God. They were alive, living as they were designed to live. Adam and Eve had true freedom because they were known.
On the other hand, the serpent was crafty. He was craftier than all the other created things, and I don’t think in a good way. In contrast to Adam and Eve, the serpent was not exposed. He was deceitful and secretive. He was not before God and had to hide what he did. His “living” was confined to figuratively and literally slithering his way through the Garden. He was not really alive.
God had designed Adam and Eve to live “naked”. That is the way they walked in the Garden. Immediately after this part of God’s story though, Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and as a result brought shame and damaged our ability to live free. I don’t think this was the end to our freedom. I believe heaven will be a return to that freedom! Eternity with God will be freedom and we will live totally exposed to him. That is what will make heaven, heaven, if you will.
What about right now though? What about between the “already” and “not yet?” Right now, we have a choice: We can live “naked” or we can live “crafty.” We can live as God intended us to live, even if we aren’t in the place he ultimately designed for us to do it – we can live as citizens of heaven. We have the choice, in our relationships, our families, and in our friendships, to live exposed or disguised. We can make our world smaller and smaller, or we can live in abounding freedom! We can live known or hidden.
To fight being known brings death because we were not designed to hide! To be known is to live. What will you choose today? Will you confess your sin or temptation to a friend? Will you ask for forgiveness for the wrong you have committed? Will you lean on a brother for help? It is OK to be broken!
Will you be crafty or will you be naked?
We have the choice, in our relationships, our families, and in our friendships, to live exposed or disguised. We can make our world smaller and smaller, or we can live in abounding freedom! We can live known or hidden.