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Genesis 2:18-25 (Beauty From a Rib)

Dec 12, 2011   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Genesis, Genesis Sermons (written), Torah  //  No Comments

Beauty From a Rib
Genesis 2:18-25

If you kiss her, you are not a gentleman
If you don’t, you are not a man
If you praise her, she thinks you are lying
If you don’t, you are good for nothing
If you agree to all her likes, you are a wimp
If you don’t, you are not understanding
If you visit her often, she thinks it is boring If you don’t, she accuses you of double-crossing
If you are well dressed, she says you are a playboy
If you’re not, you are a dull boy
If you are jealous, she says it’s bad
If you aren’t, she thinks you do not love her
If you attempt a romance, she says you didn’t respect her
If you don’t, she thinks you do not like her
If you are a minute late, she complains it’s hard to wait
If she is late, she says that’s a girl’s way
If you visit another man, you’re not putting in “quality time”
If she is visited by another woman, “oh it’s natural, we are girls”
If you kiss her once in a while, she professes you are cold
If you kiss her often, she yells that you are taking advantage
If you fail to help her in crossing the street, you lack ethics
If you do, she thinks it’s just one of men’s tactics for seduction
If you stare at another woman, she accuses you of flirting
If other men stare at her, she says that they are just admiring
If you talk, she wants you to listen
If you listen, she wants you to talk

In short:

So simple, yet so complex
So weak, yet so powerful
So confusing, yet so desirable
So damning, yet so wonderful…

…WOMEN!

Introduction: If there were no other reason to disbelieve in the theory of evolution than the presence of women, it would be enough. No amount of random chance, no amount of adapting and changing, nothing in the equation could ever form women to be so bafflingly complex and yet as delightfully simple as they are.

Only an infinitely intelligent mind could give man such a wonderful gift, such a challenge to our patience, such a trial to our souls, such a delight to our eyes, such a knock in our hearts, such a knock on our heads, such a source of frustration, and such a well of delight. Only God could have created a woman. And he did it from a rib.

Now I love ribs from the grill and I like to rib my son about things. The veins in a leaf are known as ribs, and so is the molding on a vaulted ceiling. Sailboat hulls have ribs and so do airplane’s wings. If you alternate purl stitches with plain stitches while sewing, you’ll make a ribbed pattern. All of these have meaning and purpose, but nothing could compare to what God did with one of Adam’s ribs.

Text Verse: Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.” Proverbs 31:28, 29

May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. It is Not Good

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

It is not good that man should be alone;Lo tov hayoth ha’adam li-vado. God used the term “lo tov” to describe Adam’s situation. “It is not good…” Far too often, we try to justify why we can do it alone, but in the end, God created woman for man. The two fit together much better than one does all alone.

They compliment each other, they meet each other’s needs, and they fill God’s purposes for His creation. It is lo tov that the man should be alone.

Interestingly enough, these two little words, lo tov, prove the literal six-day creation account – at least from a biblical perspective. In Genesis 1, it says at the end of the sixth day that “… God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

If, in fact, everything was “very good” or tov meod at the end of the sixth day and it was “not good” that Adam was alone on the sixth day, then God must have created everything in six literal days. There is no other way around this. The biblical account stands or falls on a literal six day creation.

“I will make him a helper comparable to him…” – literally “a help answering to him, or one who answers.” This doesn’t mean God made a secretary for man, although that can be part of the equation I suppose. The woman was prepared by God to share man’s responsibilities, respond to him with love and understanding, and work together with him in serving and worshipping God.

As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes –

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone? 4:9-11

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field.

God created the animals, but as we noted in chapter one, God gave man dominion over them. The giving of names to the animals implies this dominion over them. In the first chapter of the book of Daniel, the King of Babylon renamed the exiled Israelites as he so chose, indicating his dominion over them –

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. Daniel 1:4 & 7

In the same way, parents name their children, we name our possessions, such as a boat on the water, and if we start a company, we give it a name. Designating a name indicates dominion and authority over the thing which is named. God gave this dominion of the animals to man.

We do this even today. If we buy an animal and let one of our children name it, then the animal implicitly belongs to that child. In reality, we get to feed them, clean up their messes, and pay for the vet bills, but that child will always feel as if he is the owner.

In the case of God, man has no dominion over Him and so we can only ascribe titles to Him. Later in Genesis, Hagar, the Egyptian concubine of Abraham calls Him El Roi, the God who sees, but this isn’t a name, only a title. Any god with a name given by man is no god at all. And only the true God reveals or conceals His name as He so chooses. He revealed one name to Moses –

“I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them. Exodus 6:2, 3

And in Revelation 12, He hides another name for Himself alone. It says, “He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.”

Because God’s name identifies His authority and dominion, we are to use it carefully and with respect. He is God and we are man. He is the Creator and we are His creatures.

But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

God brought all the animals to Adam and he was probably pretty impressed with every new creature that came his way. “Here comes a…a… I’ll call that a platypus, and look I’ll call that a wombat. This one… I’m calling this one a dog.”

“Lord, these are all so cool. I can’t believe the variety of life here! But God, there is something missing in me. All of these creatures have a friend to play with and despite all that you’ve done, I feel lonely looking at them playing together. There’s something missing from my heart and although I’m not sure of what it is, I feel it when I see the animals play.”

Just imagine Adam’s thoughts as he named the animals and looked around him. He was in the very presence of God and in the midst of God’s paradise – a garden of delight. And yet there was something missing in Adam that needed to be reconciled before God could pronounce His final blessing upon the work of the day, the work of creation, and the completion of His efforts.

After 27 years of marriage, I can tell you that I find my life lacking when Hideko isn’t around. She does the cooking, I do the dishes. She feeds the puppies, and I do the laundry. She does the comforting and I do the whining. We fit so well together that when she’s not around, my whining goes unanswered, my food is from a can, and the puppies… poor, poor puppies!

Since God gave Eve to Adam, no man has ever had a wife who fit so perfectly. As Proverbs says –

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain. 31:10, 11

I assure you, I found the virtuous wife.

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.”

The term the Bible uses indicates a deep sleep Adam was placed under. Nothing is said about how He did it, but today we can work ourselves to exhaustion, use anesthesia, or get into a boxing match with our best friend to achieve this type of state.

By putting Adam to sleep, it takes man completely out of the equation. If God consulted man, Adam might have asked for chrome bumpers or a built in attachment where he could place fishing poles. He might have said, “I want a helper that doesn’t talk too much.”

But God knew better than Adam that chrome bumpers would need polishing. On the other hand, women stay lustrous without any effort. He also knew that fishing vacations were a chance to get away from the woman and relax with friends and so He didn’t include the fishing pole attachment. And he knew that man needed to learn patience and to listen while the woman talked. And so Eve was prepared while Adam slept.

All joking aside though, whatever way God put Adam to sleep, it seems as if mercy was being granted during the first operation ever performed on a human being. Normally when we take something out of a body, we do it because it’s something that’s defective and can harm us… I won’t even go in that direction today, alright…!

Modern surgical procedures are for healing and removal of corruption. But instead of something defective being brought out of Adam, something close and personal was removed. At the same time it was also for a sort of healing just as would be the case in any modern operation. What God would make from the rib would be of the same essence as man, complimentary and yet different.

“Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman,” This was a deeply personal act which God performed. The word used for making Eve is the Hebrew word banah. In this account, the Hebrew letters which spell banah are Beth and Nun. Beth means a house and nun reflects an “heir” or the continuance of a generation. God took a part of Adam’s “house” and sculpted from it a comparable part so that the two would be able to continue on for the generations to come.

This continuation would be from their very life and every human today bears the marks of their first father and mother. As it says in Acts 17:26 – “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth…”

Everything in this account, even to the letters used, shows us that man is never fully complete without a woman and that woman, who came from man, is incomplete without the man. This is how God ordained things to be. She was created to help him and he is under the obligation to protect her and be devoted to her just as he would be to any part of his own body.

Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 11 –

For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. 8-12

A few weeks ago I called man, the Crown of Creation, but this was only fully realized after God made woman. We noted that God created from the least complex to the most complex and from what is least excellent to what is most excellent.

Woman, being formed after man, has a glory and an honor upon her that Paul notes in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 when he says that “woman is the glory of man.” As Matthew Henry notes, “If man is the head, she is the crown, a crown to her husband, the crown of the visible creation. The man was dust refined, but the woman was dust double-refined, one removed further from the earth.”

Together, the two of them form the pinnacle of God’s marvelous wisdom in the creation and the way He did it shows their complete interdependency on each other.

In the use of a rib to form the woman, it’s been said that “woman was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

…and He brought her to the man.

Adam woke up feeling an empty spot in his chest just like he did before he went to sleep. The only difference was that he had a scar there too and the empty spot he felt was more than an emotion now. Something really felt like it was missing…

After yawning and looking around, you can just hear it… “Wow! Where did this come from?” I can just imagine what he thought when he saw the woman. “Man o man, o boy or boy.” One empty spot, the emotional one, was gone in an instant, and when God said that she was for him, his other empty spot was made full by her presence. Nothing was lacking. Everything was right.

“Oh Lord, this is so much better than chrome bumpers…”

What is it a father does in modern weddings? He walks the woman to her husband and presents her to him. And so God, as the Father of the woman, her Creator, “brought her to the man.” He gave his consent to the man to take this beauty and unite to her in the first wedding ever performed. And this wedding was in a state of complete innocence. As such, it was one of a kind in all of history.

“Never alone” with my wife by my side
What God has done has been done very well
A flood of emotions, like the rising of the tide
This woman is perfect for me, I can tell

A gift of the most beautiful kind
Sculpted and formed beyond imagination
Her beauty fills every thought of my mind
This is certainly the jewel in the crown of creation.

II. She Shall be Called Woman

23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

It’s been noted that for every need, there is a fulfillment of that need. We get thirsty and there is water to fill that thirst. Likewise there is thirst because there is water. If water didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be a need for thirst.

Fish need to swim in water and there is water for fish to swim in. In the same way, there are fish because there is water for fish to swim in. If the water didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be anything called fish.

Men need women and there are women for men to join to. And without a doubt, there are women because there are men. If man didn’t exist, then there wouldn’t be anything called woman.

God has filled every need with the answer to that need and God has made “needs” for the things He has created. We need sunlight and God has given us a sun. But God created the sun first and made us afterward. Everything fits so perfectly that all we can do is marvel at the perfection of His wisdom.

In my soul is a need to praise God and God has given me psalms, a mouth, and breath in my lungs to allow me to do that. But praise of God implies that there is a God. Praise God that God is God.

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

Modern translations will often set this verse off in poetic fashion. The man was making a pronouncement, acknowledging that God had fashioned the woman from his very bones and flesh. The Hebrew word for “man” is ish and for woman is ishsha and despite a difference in spelling, the only real difference is the feminine ending of the word for female.

Therefore she is a she-man. We differ in sex, but not in nature. The woman was made from the man and she was made for the man.

Adam received from his Father the woman who was being presented from her Father. He created them both and determined every detail that would perfectly fill every void in each other. What one lacked, the other filled. Every need finds its fulfillment. And so it is, even to this day. The cycle of marriage goes on between God’s faithful in acknowledgement of His loving act of making woman for man.

III. Leaving Home

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

This verse sets the stage for the bonds of marriage which have followed down throughout the ages. A man “shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” The word “joined” is the Hebrew word dabaq and indicates and action of “sticking like glue.”

Another time this term is used is when Ruth the Moabitess joined to her mother-in-law, refusing to leave her after the death of her husband, “Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.”

When it says the man shall be joined to his wife it is the man who joins like glue to the woman. He is the stronger vessel and he is the one who bears the responsibility to hold tightly to her. And if he demonstrates the kind of loving power reflected in this verse, she will naturally want to be held by him.

The woman’s responsibility isn’t negated at all though. “They shall become one flesh” indicates that this is a two-way union and that the bond in indissoluble.

When asked about the acceptability of divorce, Jesus referred right back to this account to remind the people that marriage is to be a life-long commitment –

“Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:5-9

In Ephesians 5, Paul explains the connection between a man and his wife and that of Christ and the church. This mutual “give and take” relationship is reflective of that which is demonstrated by Him and which we should likewise demonstrate towards Him.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33

As I said, the Hebrew word for “join” is dabaq and it indicates that the onus is on the man. Christ has promised to never leave us and never forsake us – accepting the onus upon Himself. It is He, the husband, who fills this role. But we are to give him the honor and glory He is due, deferring to Him that which is rightly His and submitting to His authority and headship.

When God breathed life into man, there was the intimate connection of God to man. That was lost through sin, but when God regenerates us with His Holy Spirit, that intimate connection is reestablished.

And it is the same with man and woman. A connection is lost between the two and a void exists until the two are joined again in marriage. What man lost in the rib, he regains in the wife. And man o man – she is so much better than a rib!

IV. Not Ashamed

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

When God created man and woman, they were naked and there was no shame – either vertically or horizontally. In other words, God created them in a state of beauty and perfection and there was nothing to cause them to hide from either God or each other.

Nakedness implies more than just shame though. It also implies that there was nothing that could harm them. The temperature would have been perfect, none of the animals were a threat, and there wasn’t even anything that could hurt their feet. They were naked, secure, and they were also unashamed.

I think this verse is specifically stated here to show us the contrast with the rest of the Bible where there is perpetual conflict with our bodies through the elements, from the animals, and also from the shame of our actions and the actions of others – both in front of others and in front of God. When shame is lost in people today, it reflects not just an unnatural state, but an anti-natural state.

I’ve seen a lot of my old school friends get divorced in the recent past. Some of them have been married between 15 and 25 years and they’ve decided to give up. One of them, a self-proclaimed atheist, said his wife had gotten fat and saggy after having three children and he didn’t like it. He was ashamed of her appearance.

What are you ashamed of in your husband or wife? If they’ve gotten old and wrinkly or gray, guess what? They got that way around you!

I know of a preacher who was in the Vietnam War and he got burned so badly that he looks almost like a monster. While he was in the hospital recuperating, another guy next to him was visited by his own wife. When she got there and saw how he was mutilated he was she took off her ring and threw it at him.

Later his wife came to visit and when she saw him – who was far worse off than the guy in the bed next to him, she hugged him and held tightly to him. More than thirty years later, she’s still holding tightly to him, despite his monstrous looks.

What is shame? In the end, it’s not a reflection of others, but it’s rather a reflection of oneself. In his great cry of repentance for the faithlessness of the Israelites, Nehemiah cried out to God, ashamed of their deeds as a people –

At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. 6 And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day. 8 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. 9 For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, 11 which You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity. 12 Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor? 15 O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

The shame Nehemiah felt is the attitude that God responds to with great mercy. Nehemiah’s shame was felt because of the intermarrying of God’s people with pagans. When King David’s adultery with Bathsheba was discovered, David acknowledged that –

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Both of these great men of God understood the contract between God and His people and the contract of a man and a woman. These contracts were broken and their shame was openly acknowledged.

Did you know that despite the life you’ve lived, Jesus will forgive your sins, no matter how great they are, if you will simply acknowledge your guilt?

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Hebrews 2:10-12

The author of Hebrews says that Jesus shared in humanity so that He could empathize with us. The very Creator of man – who lovingly gave him a wife, took on mortality in order to destroy death and restore us to Himself. When we call on Him, He is unashamed in calling us His brethren.

Because of this immense demonstration of forgiveness the apostle Paul turned around and returned the same honor to the Lord –

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… Romans 10:16

Beauty from under Adam’s side
Formed from a rib near his heart
God made a woman with man to abide
Together a new life as one to start

She was formed as he lay in his sleep
God molded her specially for him
They would form a bond wide and deep
That would last till their eyes grew dim

Likewise God gave Christ a bride
When a soldier pierced His own side

Out came the blood which purchased us back
As He lay in death’s sleep for a spell
The devil thought he had won the attack
But Christ rose victorious over death and hell

The Bride of Christ has nothing to fear
The Lord her husband has reign over all
Nothing so precious, nothing so dear
As for the sinner on His name to call

Come unto me you who are weary and worn
And to your souls I will give you rest
By My Spirit you too can be reborn
Drink from Heaven’s waters, be eternally blessed

Enter the cross with me –

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

In this account, Adam was being used as a symbol of Christ to come. Just as God took a rib from the side of Adam while He slept, God formed His church through the death of His Son – His moment of deepest sleep. The soldier pierced His precious side and out came blood mixed with water. Two men with similar scars 4000 years apart – one received a bride of flesh and the other a bride of the Spirit.

If God was willing to do that for us, we should respond in kind by calling on His name!

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