1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15) and Psalm 138
Genesis 3:8-15 and Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Thoughts on the Word:
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent,
‘Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.’
This week I am going to focus on the alternate Old Testament reading from Genesis. I want us to focus on this reading because it contains something very very special. In this reading from Genesis where we see God confront the first humans for their sin, we see the first hints of the Gospel that saves us. In fact verse 15 is often referred to as the protevangelion, or the 'first Gospel'.
So let's take a journey through the reading...
We begin with Adam and Eve, attempting to hide from God - this is the first sign we see of the effect of sin entering the world, as with it came fear and shame, things that had not existed before. It is the beginning of a very slippery slope, as we see within one generation of the first sin being committed, humanity descends to such a depth that the first murder of occurs. Think about that - within just one generation we as a species went from a perfect, sinless existence with our creator in a world that didn't know pain, suffering or death to killing each other out of jealousy. If that isn't a warning to us about the consequences of turning away from God, then what is?!
Of course their hiding is futile and they are subject to interrogation by God. God of course knows exactly what has happened, and his questions should be seen in that light. They were designed to illicit confessions, not information. Being just, the divine inquisitor sentences all three parties of the incident, however in today's reading we only see the sentence handed down to the serpent.
Now the serpent of course is symbolic for Satan, and the language used is important. He is condemned, accursed and put at war with humanity. He is told that while he will strike the heel of the descendents of Eve, his head will be struck - or crushed. This language is indicative of the defeat of Satan at the hands of one man - Jesus Christ, who crushed Satan underfoot with his redeeming work on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. God was telling the snake that while there will be a long battle, in the end it is humanity who will triumph, through the work of Christ.
So we can see that while it was a sentence of judgement to the snake - it was also a promise to humanity. It is the first time in the Bible that we see God's promise of salvation. While justly condemning the sinfulness of humanity and the deception and evil of the serpent, God at the same time says I will provide a way out. I will ensure you a way back home.
From the very beginning God knew he would send Jesus, that we might be saved. Even as his heart was breaking at the sinfulness of Adam and Eve, he had already prepared the answer. What a comfort that is! We have been in the plans of God since the beginning of time. Since before he created the world God knew what would happen, and he planned a way for all of us to come back home, and rebuild the broken relationship between humanity and God. He knew that we were incapable of doing it - we are lost in sin, and no efforts on our own behalf could ever bring us back to God. Knowing this he prepared the answer, and at the right time He delivered our salvation.
Take comfort my friend, because God loves you! He loves you so much that he planned your salvation before the world was even made. They say it is the thought that counts... no one has ever put this much planning and effort into offering a gift. God planned this gift for us from the beginning - have you reached out your arms and accepted it?