… love covers (1 Peter 4:8)
… He clothed them (Gen 3:21)
… they covered him (Gen 9:23)
One of the things I love about God is that He never just says, Do this rule. He always demonstrates a clear model to follow. To me, He is the forerunner of what it means to cover an offense with love.
God was the first to sacrifice in the name of love in order to cover the sin of another. He loved all His creation yet He sacrificed His own creatures so He could cover Adam and Eve’s offence. It must have been hard, but that’s what love does.
And who was He hiding their sin from? Obviously not Himself, maybe Satan? Although Satan was aware of getting them to disobey God, I’m not sure he understood the full ramifications of what he had just set in motion, but that’s another post. Perhaps it was from Adam and Eve themselves?
It wasn’t to “hide” in a fearful deceptive way, like Adam and Eve did with the leaves right after they disobeyed. There is nothing anyone can hide from God, He knows all, is all, sees all. But when God covered them, that was something completely different, it was done with a pure heart. It was done for them.
Covering is for love
After Noah and the gang disembarked and were safely moving on with their lives on dry land, there was cause for celebration for sure! Having come from a long line of weekend-warrior alcoholics, I know what a blindingly drunk party looks like and the numbing affect it has on the senses.
I don’t think it was a one-time event in Noah’s life; he was a drinker. That’s how his two older sons knew immediately what to do when the youngest son was disrespectful. Shem and Japheth showed love for Noah by covering him when he was unable, to do it himself, because of sin.
It wasn’t so much about modesty as it was about demonstrating love through respecting their father. Ham choose to expose the sin; he chose wrong.
Love covered my sin
Sometimes, sadly, our first response isn’t to reciprocate what God did for us — what Jesus did for us — what Shem and Japheth did for Noah: To cover. Too often we’re like Ham, we want to point out the sin and expose it.
It’s not that we don’t need help. On occasion, marriage is hard and sometimes we do need a voice of reason. But if we are intellectually honest with ourselves, not in most cases. In most cases, it’s a matter of, I don’t think you’re doing it right; my way is right, you’re wrong. You need to change.
Our first response is to reveal what our husbands have done and that makes us wrong on three counts. First: We are more concerned about ourselves than our husbands. Second: We are complaining out of inconvenience to our own lives. And third, we just think we are better than them because we can see their sin and offences and we think theirs is worse than ours.
Because of selfishness we miss the whole point. The purpose of putting on God’s covering of love isn’t primarily for self, it’s for others.
We wear the covering of love because that’s what Jesus did for us. He covers my sin so that I may come boldly before God. If I’m being continually remade into Christ’s image, I’ll behave more and more like Him. So shouldn’t I want to try and cover in the name of love, like He did?
WHY? Why cover it up?
The covering of love doesn’t pretend the sin isn’t real, nor does it take away our flaws, it just hides them from all-out exposure to everyone else.
… Except God.
Now God is left alone with the person and the problem, to work quietly and to completely heal their heart. It’s only God who can really tell* what needs changing, healing or to be left alone. And no one wants the ugliness inside them exposed for everyone to see. Most of us just close off when there’s a threat of exposure, including shutting out God.
My job? To cover as the process is happening. Jesus doesn’t cover my sin with His blood to hide it from God so I can slip into heaven with it. Jesus covers to make it private: Just between me and God. This is where my salvation is worked out, privately under the cover of love.
As wives, we have the distinction of being invited to work co-operatively with God as we cover in love. So I’m left with a question. Am I going to be like Ham and expose sin and flaws to others (sidenote: like Satan the accuser of the brethren**). Or, will I choose to cover like Shem and Japheth?
God places the onus on me to figure out the difference. In this responsibility, I get to see who I really am by discovering the real motive in my heart. Why do I want to expose his flaws? Or, why do I want to cover his flaws?
It’s tricky ground for sure. Navigating the steps on the soil of our own hearts.