Scripture

Dressed by the Buckle

A few days ago I stopped in at a mall in search of Brookstone. I always liked the tech gadgets you could find there, but it had apparently closed down since the last time I’d visited. So instead I looked in a few of the stores for some jeans.

I usually buy jeans at Kohl’s on sale — so $20-25. But I’ve been looking for some that would fit right — the inseam in particular. Whereas waist sizes typically come in whole numbers (32, 33, 34, 35, etc.), I have never seen an inseam that wasn’t an even number (30, 32, 34, 36, etc.). I’m somewhere between a 30 and a 32, so either I’m sporting high waters or mopping the floor.

Mall shop jeans are expensive. You can easily drop $100 at places like Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, and the Gap. I couldn’t. At least not so easily. I learned at the Buckle, though, that they would alter any jeans I’d purchase from them. Thus, I will have reached my quest for a 31-inch inseam. Someday I might buy them. (I wonder if they have layaway.)

A Ring and a Kiss

I was thinking about clothes because of a song we’re featuring at our worship night this coming weekend, John Mark McMillan’s “Dress Us Up.” (I’ll post a video tomorrow.) His opening line is, “Dress us up in your righteousness. Bring us in with a ring and a kiss,” alluding to how the prodigal son was welcomed back by his father.

Clothing. It’s hard to imagine that God created us to in a way be like the animal kingdom: naked.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 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 3:6-7 ESV

As soon as the man and woman tasted the fruit, they became acutely aware of their shame and they sought to cover themselves up. To hide from one another. I try to envision the scenario.

Could they look each other in the eyes? Did confusion swim in tears of sorrow? Was there repulsion?

Who came up with the idea for clothing? Were they hiding from one another in the bushes and thought they could get more work done if they could take the bushes with them?

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” –Genesis 3:8-10 ESV

Adam and Eve were accustomed to spending time with God in the Garden. I’m not sure when the “cool of the day” is. (My Bible notes that the word cool here could mean wind, or breeze. The presence of God by the Holy Spirit has often been symbolized by wind.) But this time they hid because of a fear they hadn’t known before. Innocence had been lost, never to be recovered. Or could it be?

The Exchange

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. –Genesis 3:21 ESV

To alleviate their shame, God did better than their fig leaves. He covered them with the skin of an animal, which foreshadowed the Tabernacle/Temple sacrificial system and eventually the ultimate sacrifice of God’s own Son. The prophet Zechariah spoke of a time when God would take away our garments of iniquity and clothe us in purity. Another prophet also looked forward to that day:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. –Isaiah 61:10 ESV

The good news of Jesus tells of an exchange. I give my filthy rags — my smelly, itchy clothes — and receive fresh from the laundry, stainless garments. I’m thinking more than a loin cloth. Maybe something like a combed Egyptian cotton T-shirt and the most comfortable of jeans you can imagine.

And definitely a 31-inch inseam for me.

A perfect fit.

Only God (and the Buckle) could do this.

(By the way, I wrote this while my girls were getting ready for Dress Like a Hobo day at school. Why they wanted something from my closet I don’t know.)

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