“No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account” (Heb. 4:13).
Verses like this have a way of striking fear into our hearts. We feel strapped to the interrogation chair, the light of truth shining in our faces. There is a sense of invasion, self-protection, perhaps shame.
As I thought about this verse from Hebrews tonight, I considered when physical nakedness or exposure usually occurs. Between lovers, obviously. Caregiving relationships also came to mind: Parents bathing children, vulnerable adults receiving care from others, etc. None of these carries a sense of invasion or shame. Trust and intimacy defines all of these relationships to one degree or another.
Then I remembered the context of Hebrews 4:13–
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time (Heb. 4:15-16).
The One who sees us–warts and all–is the One who intimately sympathizes with our weaknesses. In other words, we are naked and exposed before our lover, our caregiver, our merciful and faithful high priest–Jesus (Heb. 2:17).
Our nakedness does not produce shame but boldness. Our exposed state is treated with care and honor. We are spiritually naked with One we can trust.
We’ve all heard the cliche–when we die, we stand before God as a movie of our life plays. Our sins, our most embarrassing moments–all the dirty laundry–airs prime time. Which of us didn’t want to crawl under a rock when we heard this?
Maybe it’s time to stop painting God as an interrogator torturing us with light. All the squirming, all the weeping and gnashing of teeth happens in the dark. Jesus describes coming into the light as a thing of joy and wonder: “For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God” (John 3:20-21).
With that in mind, I’d like to close with a poem I posted about four years ago:
The King’s Chambers (SoS 1:2-4) Pieces of clothing, like pretenses, are removed, like explanations, are cast aside, like self-image, collapse into hollow, rumpled piles, and I am naked. I can think of only one thing— “The word of a king is supreme. who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’”— a proverb I heard years ago. Standing here, I realize it is one thing to hear a proverb; it is quite another to see it disrobed before you, quite another to be stripped down until you are nothing but loved.