Day 31: Our Fig Leaves will Wither
The scene is the Garden of Eden. Rolling around upon the ground is a half-eaten piece of fruit. Satan hides behind a tree laughing. And Adam and Eve are searching for something, anything, to cover themselves.
God came down and walked among the trees, searching for them, for something was dreadfully wrong. "Adam, where art thou?", God called out. (Genesis 3:9). When Eve tasted of the forbidden fruit, a great gulf suddenly separated man from God. Isaiah wrote, "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you." (Isaiah 59:2). God found Adam and Eve hiding within the trees of the garden. Their innocence gone, new feelings now emerged: guilt, fear, shame. They once walked and talked with God as a friend. Now they are unable to draw close to Him, their sin keeping them from the presence of One so holy.
To cover their sin, Adam and Eve made for themselves aprons made of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). Think about how long it would take for a leaf to start withering after you picked it off a tree. Not very long would it? Neither with Adam's fig leaves. Man's attempt at covering his sin did not last long, and would have to be redone over and over again.
Our attempts today are no different. We sin. We fail God. In our shame, we hide from Him. We don't go directly to Him and ask forgiveness. Instead, we do something to try and alleviate the guilt and the pain of our failure. We do a good deed. We give to charity. We volunteer. We help out a neighbor in need. We put more money in the offering plate. It works too, for a while. Then the guilt comes crashing in again.
To replace the aprons of fig leaves, God made for Adam and Eve a covering of animal skins (Genesis 3:21). This solution was a little better. The skins lasted much longer than the fig leaves. But still, over time, they would have to be replaced. And besides, the skins only covered their sin. But, God wanted to take their sin away.
So, God came up with a better plan. To remedy man's sin and reconcile man to Himself, it would require Him to come down to earth again. But this time, He would come as a little baby. His name would be Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He would walk among us. He would feel what we feel, sense what we sense. He would know fear, hunger, pain, rejection, loneliness. He would laugh. He would cry. He would be rejected and crucified, and the blood that flowed that day would not just cover our sin, but instead would wash it away, and would bridge forever the gulf that separated us from God.
Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29).