By Rich Lambert
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” - Genesis 2:18-24
The goal of the animal parade in Eden was an overwhelming sense of aloneness for the man. It is a strange scene in its construction. The Lord declares that, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (v. 18), and so he would make a companion to match him in form and being, and then he gives Adam a new chore—the man was to name every creature in the garden. The design of the task was for Adam to discover, beast by beast, that there was no creature like him. It was intended to create in him a profound ache. A hunger that had no name, yet.
In those times that we say we feel “close to nature,” we are never nearly as close as we imagine. We are still worlds apart. There was no one in the garden to share the man’s activity, his knowledge, his emotion. God created the ache in the man and then filled it by bringing to him the woman. Adam knew just how to name her—she was called something nearly the same as he was, yet distinct and other at the same time. She was a fascination to him, and she soothed the ache.
All of this, of course, rings with Gospel echoes. In our toil through life, we reenact Adam’s Edenic inventory; we look around and survey our surroundings searching for a helper. We are on the hunt for another to help shoulder and ease our anguish and burdens. No matter who we take up with and enlist to the task, our ache remains. Somehow it is never enough. Until we realize that the one given to us to meet and help us in every trial and challenge, was not made from us, but we were made from him. The help he gives comes in the form of a cross, and a jailbreak from a tomb. The help he gives is in the residence he takes up in us by his Spirit, and through which he constantly whispers to us that salvation is not so much that he is steered to help us in our work, as we are turned to help him in his. “It is not good for my children to be alone,” said the Lord God, “and their loneliness expands the more they look to each other. I will give a helper truly suitable to them. I will send them my Son.”
From the beginning, even in paradise, the goal was redemption.
Faith and Practice:
What aches can you inventory in yourself currently? In what ways can Jesus uniquely satisfy them? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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