Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unexpected Consequences II: A Curse and a Promise

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Genesis 3:14-19

Adam and Even made a bad deal. They chose to believe Satan over God, and they got considerably less than they bargained for. Last week we saw that they traded away their innocence, and right relationship with the Lord and received only a knowledge of their nakedness,  fear and an upside down world in return. This week we find even more unexpected consequences. Their decision brought a curse with it, a curse for the serpent, the woman, the man, and the earth from which the man was formed. A summary of the curse runs accordingly: the serpent lost his legs, the woman gained increased pain in childbirth and increased tension in her relationship with man, and the man received a cursed earth so that he would be able to provide food for his family only through great struggle.

Each of the curses above have their nuances and deserve to be investigated in greater detail, but today I would rather focus on verse 15 which is sometimes called the Protoevangelium or the first announcement of the gospel. Our God delighted in showing His goodness in that with the curse He also gave a promise. To the serpent God said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Within this statement lies the great hope of the human race. Yes, that cunning serpent Satan has duped us. We made a bad deal. We are separated from God in our sins and deserving of death. But, there is hope, hope in the offspring of the woman. This offspring will do battle with the serpent and though He will be wounded (i.e. the serpent will strike His heel), He will be victorious (i.e. He will crush your head). The rest of the book of Genesis, and indeed the whole Old Testament, can be viewed as a tracing of Eve's descendants and God's dealings with them in eager anticipation of God's fulfillment of this promise.

Like Adam and Eve, all of us have made bad deals with the Devil. This is the common human condition. We have chosen to shortcut God's plan for us. We have cheated. We have lied. We have proven untrustworthy. We have run after the things of this world, and like Adam and Eve we have only pain and scars to show for it. But this promise way back at the very beginning of the Bible is also for us. There is a Savior who has taken up the struggle and has been victorious where we have failed. They looked forward in expectation of the day when He would be revealed. We look back on the glory of His victory, a victory which did wound Him, but most certainly crushed our enemy forever. We rejoice even in His wounds for Scripture says that "by His wounds we are healed!" (I Peter 2:24) So consider afresh the victory won for you by our Savior Jesus and rejoice in it! And if any part of your life is not fully surrendered under His lordship, submit to Him today.  
For further reading:...

No comments: