Cows and Carp

Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”

Observation: God had put Adam into the garden made expressly for their shared intimacy. (Gen. 2:8) He had set the boundaries (vs. 15–17) and then made the observation that Adam needed a helper because it wasn’t good that he should be alone.

Application: My natural expectation is that having once expressed the thought of making Adam a helper, God would hop to it and create her, but He didn’t. He completely broke creation’s previously established pattern. Instead, after declaring Adam’s need for a helper, God delays. He first parades before Adam “all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air” (v. 19) so Adam could name them.

Does this seem a senseless exercise? Surely the God who had set countless billions of stars in their place and given each its name could Himself have thought of names like “cow” and “carp”. Was naming the animals an unfair interruption in solving Adam’s aloneness problem, or was something deeper going on?

Adam may not have minded the delay; after all, he was fairly new in town and could have no particular expectations of God. Neither could he have imagined what God meant by the word “helper”. We who are more seasoned in our walk than Adam have learned to have higher expectations of God; when He promises a good gift it is all too easy for me to not only assume I merit His largesse but to also anticipate its immediate appearing, as in “You have promised abundant life; fill my bank account today, Lord.”

God had longed for fellowship from eternity, but longing had not yet been awakened in Adam. In parading all the birds and beasts before Adam, at least two things must have been occurring. First, Adam would have noticed that everything seemed to come in pairs. And having to name each one must have caused him to study them at least cursorily, causing him to realize that none was suited to him. (2:20) “This one’s neck is too long; that one’s size isn’t right; those over there seem to live in treetops.” God was birthing in Adam longing for a mate made in God’s own image, through whom Adam could come to learn more about God’s passionate love for him. Contemplating a God motivated by such love, strategizing how to awaken love in me, arrests my heart. I am stunned that the God of the universe went to such lengths to create voluntary lovers.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for so easily turning to lesser satisfactions in my daily walk. Interrupt my prideful, self-conceived pursuits, that I might find satisfaction in none but You.

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