Wednesday, October 9, 2019

In The Beginning. Day 16, The Curse, Part Two

In yesterday's passage the Lord disciplined the serpent for deceiving Eve. He disciplined Eve for eating the fruit and for talking Adam into eating it. Today the Lord disciplines Adam.

"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 fruit 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 3:17-19)

Adam had been given a direct commandment from the Lord not to eat the fruit from that one tree. Yet he listened to Eve and ate from it anyway. God is a higher authority than Eve. God is higher than any authority, which is why the apostles of the Lord Jesus said, "We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29) Whenever God's command is in conflict with man's command, the choice is clear. We must obey God. Adam failed to make the correct choice.

I don't know what type of work Adam was doing in Eden before he fell from grace and brought the curse of sin into the world. I think his gardening duties must have been a joyful tending of what God created. He didn't have to pull weeds or hoe the ground. He didn't have to plow and plant. Now he's going to have to work for every bite he eats. He's going to have to toil every day but the Sabbath to provide for his wife and the children they will have.

The entrance of sin into the world was like pollution. It began to permeate everything and affect the entire creation. Though the Lord refers to the affect sin has on the world as a "curse", I think the hard labor Adam will have to perform is somewhat of a blessing in disguise. It's difficult to get into too much trouble while plowing a field. It's hard to commit much sin while the hands are busy scratching out a living from the dirt. You've probably heard the expression, "Idle hands are the devil's plaything," and there is some truth in that statement. The thorny ground Adam is going to have to deal with represents two types of discipline. It represents the type of discipline we think of as punishment, but it also represents the type of discipline we think of as training. Every time Adam pulls a weed he's going to think about the sin that led him to a life of hard labor. He's going to be more receptive to the word of God and he's going to be more diligent about obeying it. He won't be perfect, of course, but I have no doubt he thought twice about every important decision he made from then on.

Up til now we've been referring to Adam's wife as "Eve" because we know that's the name that was given to her, but it isn't til this point in Genesis that she receives her name. God has informed this couple that they are going to produce offspring, so Adam gives her a name befitting one who is going to become the first mom. "Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living." (Genesis 3:20) In Hebrew her name is "Chawwah" which means "to breathe"or "to live". This word is sometimes translated simply as "life". From her body she will bring forth children to continue the human race.

The first human couple must pay the natural consequences for their sin, but the discipline they've received does not absolve them of their sin. They are not performing a penance that makes things right between them and God. Only a sacrifice that God finds acceptable is capable of atoning for their sin. In tomorrow's passage we will find God Himself providing the sacrifice. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22b) The first blood will be shed on the earth in tomorrow's passage as God makes the first substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of man.

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