“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25).”
A celebrity has posed for nude photos and some desperate magazine editor has seen fit to post it on the next cover. Reality TV continues to push the boundaries of decency with shows featuring naked people dating, cavorting through the wilderness, and who knows what else? The subject of one of these programs has actually attempted to sue the show’s producers because, although she knew she would be filmed naked, she did not approve of the way her image was revealed to viewers.
Some think all of this is just a sign that our society has evolved beyond our nation’s puritanical views on nudity. They profess to be “proud” of their bodies and are not ashamed. Instead it serves as evidence that our society has lost its sense of shame (Jeremiah 6:15). Man’s nakedness and shame are linked in Scripture and in God’s view ever since sin entered into this world. After their sin, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened and they tried to cover and hide their nakedness (Genesis 3:7, 10). Nearly all of the prophets communicated that a sense of shame and humility should accompany one’s public nakedness (Isaiah 47:3, Lamentations 1:8, Ezekiel 16:37, Nahum 3:5, etc…).
It is not only the exhibitionists that should be ashamed but also those who look upon their nakedness. At an obvious low point Noah was found drunk and naked in his tent (Genesis 9:21-23). His son Ham leered in a perverse manner at his uncovered father. The Hebrew indicates Ham “looked searchingly.”1 It was prurient voyeurism and Ham was condemned, as others will be who partake in this sin (Habakkuk 2:15). Shem and Japheth understood this well and refused to repeat the sin of Ham and instead covered their father’s shame.
God expressed this concept explicitly to the Israelites in Leviticus 18:6-19 actually linking the uncovering of a person, not only with their own nakedness, but also with the nakedness of their spouse (Leviticus 20:20). Looking upon one’s sister-in-law is tantamount to probing their brother’s nakedness (Leviticus 18:16).God went so far as to even command that his righteous priests were to cover themselves completely so that there was no exposure when ascending to serve at the altar (Exodus 20:26, Exodus 28:42).
Many of the standards of decency in our society have been pushed so far that some no longer can see the clear line that they have trespassed because of what the world accepts (Romans 12:2). Some sober-minded men have even refused to serve the Lord’s Supper for the sake of some improperly attired ladies. It would be naïve and wrong to believe this has never occurred at Jersey Village.
Publicly dressing in such a way as to expose one’s self so as to allure the attention of those of the opposite sex is sin. Paul admonished Christian women “to adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation…which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10).” The word “propriety” comes from a Greek word which means having a sense of shame or the ability to blush at inappropriate behavior.2 Peter even went so far as to say that it should not be a woman’s outward adornment that is on display but rather her inner beauty which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Here’s the test to determine if one is caught up in dressing according to the standards of the world or dressing modestly as Scripture commands – Are you ready to face Jesus today (Revelation 16:15)? Whose eyes do we seek to delight (2 Chronicles 16:9)? And Christian men must not succumb to the siren calls and portrayals of women on display in public and in the media but rather we must be as Job who made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1).
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13)’”
Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001, p.149