Updated: May 5, 2020
The First Sign of Poverty Among Humanity
"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 3:7
One of the first, and clearest examples of poverty is in the story of Creation. God had just spoken creation into existence in a week's time. (Gen. Ch. 1 and 2) And He gives man (Adam and Eve), the one "thing" He created in His own image, a very simple command. He said, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:16-17)
As Chapter 3 begins, we see Eve being tempted by Satan to eat of the tree that God had commanded them not to. And after Satan entices her to believe it is better to be "like God" than to follow God, she eats, and her husband too. [Immediately], "the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths." (Gen. 3:7) How does Adam and Eve's response to the first sin (or disobedience to God) show that man is poverty stricken?
Man's Need for Control
The need for control is often the first sign of things spiraling out of control. We hear many excuses from homeless men and women who thought they had control of a situation that invariably they didn't. For example, a woman in an abusive relationship continues to trick herself into thinking that her spouse/boyfriend will change when the cycle of abuse has been the same for years. This is a version of man-made control What we can learn from Adam and Eve is that man was not made as an individual to make autonomous decisions with the absence of God's voice. We were created in the image of God to hear from God out of relationship, not to tell God what to do. And if left to our own devices our craving to be self-reliant to the bitter end creates in us a poverty of spirit, void of God,
The greatest form of poverty in the human heart is our continued willingness to say no to God's voice. This sinful inheritance drives us in feeble attempts to cover up the need for God. This is why Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together. They realized their disobedience as they gazed upon nakedness and embarrassment for the first time and tried to control the situation. They figured that they could make things right by making cloths, but they were wrong. It wasn't ultimately their physical nakedness that was the problem, it was their spiritual separation from God.
Without intervention from God, the first man and woman ever created would of been ever lost in "sewing fig leaves" together to cover-up what only their Creator could. Thankfully God cares for the poor. We see 14 verses later that "the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them." God sacrificed a lamb that day to make clothing. This is exactly what he would do thousands of years later as He would send His only Son to die for those who were helplessly "sewing fig leaves" together. Would you recognize today your need for Jesus?
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