Genesis 2:24-25 “They shall become one flesh. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
The National Football League has its work cut out for it. The public backlash from NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem isn’t going away anytime soon. In today’s America, cultural partisanship has finally moved the average American to action. Same sex bathrooms didn’t do it. Nor the assault on our police. Not even the incessant cry that America is at heart a racist nation. Choosing the National Anthem at NFL games as the stage for protest appears to be the poke that has woken up the sleeping bear.
I don’t think the NFL players are doing a good job articulating why they are doing this. I would bet the vast majority of players are like JJ Watts of the Houston Oilers. Anyone remember the fundraiser he launched just one month ago, for the victims of Hurricane Harvey? On August 26, he set the goal at $200,000. Watts recently closed it at $37,097,298. At Houston’s first home game after Harvey, no one kneeled during the national anthem. The crowd cheered wildly in unified support for Watts’s desire to help those in need.
Now, just one month later, an NFL player’s leadership that helped unite a nation around our goodwill towards each other has been displaced by other NFL players’ leadership that has helped divide us against each other. NFL leadership, as I said, has its work cut out for it to repair the damage to its brand.
While we elevate sports to an iconic status, two cultural mainstays that transcend sports – marriage and family. And everyone, including the NFL, needs to learn why. The source to study marriage, if we want to adopt its principles to regain a love and respect for one another, is the Bible. Two weeks ago we began this study. This week, we’ll see marriage principles that the NFL, and all of us, must adopt to reunite us.
In our verse this week, Genesis 2:24 ends by saying “they shall become one flesh.” The focus is UNITY. In marriage, becoming one begins at the wedding ceremony. Two diverse people, with different upbringings, temperaments, etc., don’t instantly unite. Proverbs 24:3-4 says becoming united as one requires wisdom, understanding and knowledge: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” 1Peter 3:7 tells husbands to “dwell with your wife with understanding, giving her honor.” The picture of becoming ‘one flesh’ means mutual submission, unselfishness, giving and forgiving, listening and sharing, and actively serving each other. America needs even a tiny dose of this unity right now.
Genesis 2:25 says “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed”. Here, God explains INTIMACY. In today’s culture, there’s a reason people where clothes. We wear clothes to cover up – to hide our bodies. Ever since mankind’s fall in the garden, man’s sin makes all of us ashamed to expose ourselves for who we really are. But that wasn’t God’s intent, and it still isn’t in marriage.
The word for ‘naked’ in Genesis 2:25 means ‘to lay bare’. The emphasis is on transparency. In the garden, Adam and Eve lived with a total absence of self-consciousness. They didn’t know the concept of shame. How could they have that kind of complete freedom? Because there was no SIN. They were interested in the other person, so they never even noticed their own nakedness. They had nothing to guard.
But then Genesis 3:9-10 explains what happened when sin enters their lives – both Adam and Eve become SELF-conscious – they become aware of their own nakedness. Their self-awareness causes shame and embarrassment. They first thing they do? They hide: “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?’” Both unity and intimacy have been destroyed by sin.
You see, biblical marriage is not just a tradition. It is sacred. The marital union between a man and a woman is as sacred as God’s design of each person in the womb (their skin color, their ethnicity, their gender). When we do not honor the institution of marriage, just as when we do not honor the ethnicity of each one of us, we are perverting the sacredness of His designs. We are sinning against God.
Fixing our cultural divisions is doable. The truth is there is nothing broken in this world that God cannot fix. In fact, God has already provided you the solution. In the Cross of Jesus Christ, that guilt and shame has been paid for. As Jesus Christ said Himself, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus Christ is the solution to America’s division
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #263