When You Need to Cover Nakedness

“And don’t build an altar that requires steps; you might expose yourself when you climb up”.

Exodus 20:26

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

While I lived in the SOS Ministry house in the Mission District of San Francisco a dear brother taught me this principle.  Living in Christian community is a really wonderful thing.  But it also could be a challenge at times.  What Michael shared, allowed my understanding to grow to meet the need of the moment.

The principle is this:  

We are called to cover up our brother’s nakedness.

 Throughout the scripture “being naked, or nakedness” is always a shame.  It comes welded to the concept of being vulnerable or exposed to the sight of everyone else.  It also carries the idea of sin; it is sin that everyone can see; it is very obvious.

For those of us who often sin, we evolve the idea of keeping a lid on it, and being secretive with it.  There will be people who will never know.  Often sex sin, drug and alcohol sin, both are kept hidden from view of family and friends, and the Church.

Noah and His Nakedness, Genesis 9

“Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. When he drank wine made from his grapes, he became drunk and lay naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, looked at his naked father and told his brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth got a coat and, carrying it on both their shoulders, they walked backwards into the tent and covered their father.”

“They turned their faces away so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.”  

Genesis 9:20-24

It’s hard to process this patriarch’s gross sin. 

However in all fairness Noah had lost everything in the flood, so perhaps we should be gentle with him. On the other hand, people who cover up the nakedness of others seem to be gentle and humble.  They would never, ever dream of making a scandal.  They are trustworthy and understand to a great degree the things that make a man or woman of God.

Leviticus 18 is the “magnum opus” of nakedness.

We are pretty much told over and over in this chapter, not to ever uncover another. Actually is pretty emphatic and somewhat redundant. But I think the Lord wanted it repeated this way.

Our vulnerabilities are there for all to see.  But there are also men and women who go out of their way to protect and shield.  They are safe people, in the classic sense of the word.  They cover-up, but never in negative or criminal way, but in love and blessing. (If it is a serious crime, the police should be involved.)

Mature believers will step forward and protect the open areas of others. 

Quite often we are exposed, open to attack on our weaknesses.  Mature believers will step forward and protect the open areas of others.  They will refuse to judge or point out sins.  But they will stand in the gap, shielding and protecting.

God’s final word on nakedness is in Revelation 3:18, and this is a good place to conclude this post,

“My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight.”

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Steps to Use, [Making Wise Decisions]

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The decision to make decisions that will please God is in itself a monumental step.  It means you have come to the place where it matters.  It’s coming to the place where I say “Yes” to all that God says yes to and “No” to everything He has forbidden.  The willingness to be guided is itself a powerful thing.

A fundamental principle to begin with: Every heart has a throne, the question is– who sits on it? 

Step 1:  Putting God First.

In part you have already done this just by your eagerness to do His will.  You  have made a deliberate decision to honor and esteem Him by letting God be completely God.  It is likely that God will withhold His direction if you have no real intention of doing it.  You will just sputter around in the dark. Your life will be painfully empty.

Step 2:  Worship Him willingly.

For me, to commence praise & worship is like firing up the nuclear power plant that I have in my backyard.  It is a source of unlimited energy that I have at my disposal, but it’s not about me at all.  When I start to worship, it must be all about Him.  It’s His character, attributes, love and grace I lift up to be examined by all.

“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.”

John 4:23

Step 3:  Read the Word faithfully.

Guidance often comes when we turn to the Bible for light.  Each part or style of my “leather bound Book” is a purposeful and deliberate unveiling of truth.  After 25 years since I became a Christian, the Bible has shown itself over and over to be important.  The Life of David has been rich, and Daniel as well.  I needed to discern the difference between:

  • A moral decision that concerns things that are right & wrong, evil & good.
  • A non-moral decision that directs me in the areas of preference and direction.
  • Reading the Bible provides us with all that we need.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
       and a light for my path.” 

Psalm 119:105

Step 4:  Seek out the counsel of elders and veteran saints.

The Church has this big ‘brain-trust’ at her disposal whenever she needs it.  There is accumulated wisdom and insight that often is ignored or not even considered.  My life has changed because of my contact with these older saints.  Most of them never really recognized the imprint they were having on me, my marriage, or my ministry.  I realize that I stand on the shoulders of giants, that I only see further because they were willing to raise me higher.  We will fail in decision making if we will not involve our elders.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel,
       but with many advisers they succeed.” 

Prov. 15:22

Step 5:  Prepare yourself to walk by faith.

The scripture is jam-packed with people who had to have faith.  They are everywhere and they are doing everything!  But, all through faith.  I got to thinking about Noah, and his faith.  Directed to construct an ark, which took him years and years.

“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before.”

  Heb. 11:7

Faith is defined as trusting God to carry out His unseen promises.

 “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” 

Heb. 11:1

Step 6:  Concentrate on eternal purposes.

I have heard it said, that this life is very short, and only what is done for Christ will last.  I believe this. Matthew also tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be given to you.

It is the kingdom that must be paramount.  The kingdom is carried around in our hearts; it is the place where the King dwells and rules.

These are not just noble and lofty thoughts to be smiled at, humored and regarded as quite quaint.  This is for real, these are concrete realities that we choose. God’s will is not some abstract, it is as specific as the believer wants or needs it to be.

Summary

I honestly believe that you and I can know deep inside us what constitutes a Godly decision.  It very often is on the path of greatest humility.  And when you meet up with humility, you will find faith– and then follows goodness.  And as you accrue these qualities it becomes much easier to make Godly decisions.

 

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Recommended Reading 

“Decision Making and the Will of God,” by  Garry Friesen, J. Robin Maxson

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