Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2009

"The Lord God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife to wear. The Lord God said, "The man has become like one of us. He can now tell the difference between good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and pick fruit from the tree of life and eat it. If he does, he will live forever." So the Lord God drove the man out of the Garden of Eden to work the ground he had been made out of. The Lord God drove him out and then placed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden. He also placed a flaming sword there. It flashed back and forth. The cherubim and the sword guarded the way to the tree of life." Genesis 3:21-24
I am reading through the Bible again in 2010 as I did last year. The plan I am following has an Old Testament reading and a New Testament portion. So, I have been in Genesis.
The events recorded in Genesis 3 are among the most tragic in all the Bible. When God comes looking for Adam and Eve in Paradise and they are not there. His question, "Adam, where are you?" is heart-breaking.
As sad as this story may be, God's response to them is very revealing of Who He is and how He operates. It should bless and encourage each of us.
God's initial response to the disobedience of Adam is one of disappointment and sorrow, not anger and vengence. Our God is not an angry God. Angry people feel powerless and out of control, God is neither. He is soveriegn and almighty. Nothing happens without His knowledge or consent.
His announcement to the serpent is significant because it is the first revelation of God's redemptive plan. He declares that evil will not triumph over righteousness. His curse upon the serpent is the beginning of the end for evil, and for him.
What moves me the most is how God reacts to Adam and Eve. His response to them speaks more of His concern for them than of His anger against them. Though He prounces curses on them and their efforts, these are not intended as punishment but merely the consequences of sin breaking relationship with God. I believe that God's curse on Adam and Eve was simply the removal of His blessing from them because of their sin. Sin separates us from God and therefore cut us off from His blessing. As I see it, this is what happened to Adam and Eve.
In stark contrast to the serpent's deceitfulness and Adam's selfishness is God's mercy and grace. While He doesn't remove the consequences of their sin, He limits the potential for more serious consequences and He initiates a plan to redeem them and restore the relationship.
In His first act of grace, God clothes them to hide their shame. Then He puts them out of the Garden so they will not eat from the Tree of Life and become eternally confirmed in their fallen state. He posts an angel between them and the tree just to assure that they will not access it.
We serve a God Who is always at His best even when we are at our worst. He is not a spiteful God or a vindictive God but a merciful God whose grace always exceeds our sin!
Celebrate His goodness! Rejoice in His grace! Live in His righteousness so you can enjoy the blessings of being in relationship with Him!