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Sunday, September 22, 2019

posted Sep 22, 2019, 1:16 PM by Site Administrator

GOD PROMISED THE SEED OF REDEMPTION

 

Genesis 3:1-24

Key Verse 3:15 

 

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.

 

In the previous passage, we learned about God’s deep concern for man’s happiness. God loved the man and he provided everything he needed for his happiness – the Garden of Delight as his mansion, freedom, his words, his mission, and even a suitable helper. If Adam needed anything more, God would give him that too. In God’s Garden, Adam could enjoy a truly delightful life only if he lived according to God’s original design. But Alas! In today’s passage, we see Adam’s fall. When Adam ignored God’s command and disobeyed God’s will, things did not go as God originally had designed. As a result, Adam lost everything, and his life became chaotic. In today’s passage, we also hear God’s voice, the voice of a shepherd that calls for his lost sheep, Where are you? Today, let’s hear our shepherd’s voice and turn to Him. 

 

First, The transgression (1-6). Look at verse1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? About the serpent, many people think that Satan disguised himself as a serpent. But then, it did not make sense that later God punished the reptile,snakes for this crime. Others say that Satan hypnotized the serpent. Again, then, it did not make sense that God punished the reptile, snakes for this crime. The clue the Bible offers is the serpent's crafty character - the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals. Many intelligent people think of themselves too highly; so they come up with certain ideas, suggestions and theories, which are too big for them to deal with, and end up serving Satan's desires, bringing great confusion and making so many people turn away from God; instead of letting their minds go so wild, they should have controlled their inner world, knowing what they can think of and what they must not think of. The serpent was crafty. The serpent tried to figure out God's intention in giving the tree and command. It was okay to think about God's intention; but the problem was that the serpent did not think of God's intention with absolute trust in God's goodness and love for humans - fundamental attitude toward the Creator God. The serpent didn't control its mind, but entertained all kinds of things, even negative ideas about God, entertaining doubt of God's love. Then, Satan had a chance to intervene and manipulate its mind, making the serpent draw a conclusion, which Satan desired. Then, the serpent struggled hard to convince the woman to accept itsunderstanding of God's intention, as if it was telling her a great secret - in that way, it pursued what Satan desired wholeheartedly - humans violating God's command. 

 

As God's creatures, we must approach God's command, God's will and God's Person, fundamentally, with absolute trust in God's goodness and love for us, just like children putting their trust in their parents, not to find some evil He might have in secret, but to find his beauty and to understand his love for us more and more. Don't be crafty like the serpent, like so many intellectuals who live as enemies of God - they become nothing but servants of Satan in destroying many people and sending them to hell. With freedom you have, live as children of God, knowing Him and loving Him more than ever. God gives you His commands so that you can enjoy a delightful life.

 

In approaching the woman, the serpent used the word of God, but not as it was. Since he had an ulterior purpose, he changed the word of God in the way he desired to serve his purpose, saying, Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden? By saying this, the serpent implied as if God had restricted them from doing anything in the garden, describing herlife miserably, planting doubt of God's intention in her heart. If anyone approaches you this way, describing God, God's people, God's church, God's mission, or anything of God in a negative way, be on your guard - behind the scene, there is Satan, trying to plant doubt of God's love and goodness in your heart. 

 

If anyone approaches you this way, implying that your parents have an ulterior purpose in telling you to study hard and not hang out with gangsters on the street, you would be mad, saying, Nonsense! Get out of here immediately and never talk to me. It seemed that the woman should be upset, rebuke the serpent, and kick it out, saying, What are you talking about? God has given us this entire Garden, and He made us the rulers. Never say like that. Get away! But instead, she entertained this kind of twisted conversation, saying, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the Garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” In her response, she also used the word of God, but not exactly as it was; instead, she omitted freedom God gave herand emphasized the negative aspect of God's command, adding, 'You must not touch it.' When we think about her response carefully, we can see that she did not grasp why God gave her the command - it was for her happiness, for her protection. She did not know God’s good intention in giving her the command. As a result, her attitude to God's command was casual. Then, she was vulnerable. Her failure shows us the importance of grasping God’s real intention in giving us his commands. That’s why meditating on God’s words deeply to grasp God’s words really is the most essential for our Christian life. When you grasp God’s real intention in giving you his commands, there you are overjoyed – you are so happy and thankful, and keep them absolutely. Without grasping it, people keep God’s commands out of duty, going through the motion, no real joy, no real thanks and happiness, maybe, hoping to go to heaven not hell. Such Christian life is boring, and such people become nothing but Satan’s toys. No wonder why so many Christians’ life is chaotic and painful.

 

Also, we see that the woman did not appreciate all the blessings God had given her; instead, she took everything for granted. And she did not have a heart's zealous love for God - no personal heart's decision to love God, but she was just doing her duty. No wonder that Satan targeted on her.

 

When the serpent approached her with some hidden motive, she showed many weak spots. Then, the serpent did not miss the chance. The serpent said to her confidently, You will not surely die. At first, the serpent looked like a believer using the word of God, but now it revealed its true identity as an enemy of God. God said, When you eat of it, you will surely die. But now the serpent said, You will not surely die. And the serpent came up with his logic of why God told her not to eat the forbidden fruit, saying, For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The serpent described as if God was tricking them with this command. At the same time, the serpent stirred up her desire to be like God. The serpent gave her a big promise, saying, You will be like God, which later turned out to be a big lie. Actually, being like God was Satan's own desire, and now Satan was planting his desire in her heart. Until this time, mankind had obeyed God and walked with him in beautiful fellowship in the garden. Creation order in the garden was kept by man’s obedience to God and everything went beautifully according to God's design. Now Satan was attempting to destroy everything there, by making the woman violate this spiritual order. 

 

Being like God, this is what Satan has used to destroy mankind all the time. When this desire of Satan is planted in people, they refuse to obey God, but do whatever they want. They reject any authority over them and say, It is my life! I want to do whatever I want. This way, they reject God’s word, and God’s authority over their lives, and thus, the creation order is broken. God said, When you eat of it, you will surely die. As they break God’s creation order, so they surely die. Also, people raise questions about God’s word, saying, Did God really say that we must not marry unbelievers? Did God really say we must deny ourselves and follow Jesus? Is that the only way? Then, they compromise, and later, they even deny God’s word openly, saying, You will not surely die. Thus, the world becomes corrupt, and people’s lives become miserable; they have lost paradise. This is what Satan is doing all the time.

 

Our heart is like the soil where either God’s desire or Satan’s desire can be planted; it is neutral. As we live here in the world, we receive the messages from the world, from Satan all the time, at school, through the internet, movies, at home, from our friends, and on the streets. So, we must study and meditate on the word of God more diligently, deeply until God’s desire is planted in us fully, until our value system, our future hope, vision, and daily lifestyle are fully shaped up according to God’s design so that we can live our life here on earth according to God’s plan and purpose. 

 

Look at verse 6. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. After being tempted, suddenly forbidden fruit looked so mysteriously beautiful, good for food, pleasing to the eye, and even desirable for gaining wisdom. Actually, no fruit makes you really wise; no one thinks that way. Eating a lot cherries does not make you wise. But once she was tempted, it looked that way. So, she took some and ate it.  

 

She also gave some to her husband and he ate it. When the woman brought the forbidden fruit to him, how did Adam respond? Did he say, “Oh, the forbidden fruit. Thank you,” and eat it? I don’t think so. Instead, Adam must have been shocked, saying, “What!!! No! What have you done? Are you crazy?” He couldn’t believe what’s going on. Maybe, he rebuked her harshly;he tried to help her repent; maybe, that family had terrible argument over the matter for days. But the Bible does not mention about such things at all; instead, it talks about eventually what Adam did – he ate it. Eventually, Adam gave in, choosing his wife over God – that was his choice. At this, God was very hurt that later, he specifically mentioned about it – Adam choosing his wife over Him. In that situation, what should Adam have done? He should have stood on God’s side firmly absolutely, to the end! Then, the world history would have gone in a different direction. God wants us to stand on his side firmly in any circumstances. That’s why Jesus says, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10:37) Let’s choose God, because he is our Creator – everything came from him. Let’s love God alone!

 

Second, Where are you? (7-13). Look at verses 7 and 8. After eating the forbidden fruit, many things happened to them. Their eyes were opened toward good and evil. But they did not become like God as Satan had promised; instead, they became conscious of their nakedness and felt shameful, so they made coverings for themselves with fig leaves - when they sinned, their innocence was taken away - they lost innocence; their nature was corruptWhen they heard the sound of God, they were afraid of him, so they hid themselves among the trees in the garden. Before, they enjoyed fellowship with God freely, but now, they were afraid of God and they could not enjoy fellowship with Him; their relationship with God was broken, and they ran away from Him. Because of this fear of God, they could not serve God's mission any longer - they lost God's mission, which was the very purpose of their existence. Before, they were rulers over God's creatures, created in God's image, so awesome, cool, majestic and beautiful. But now, they became strange creatures, feeling so shameful and fearful, running away from God their Creator, and hiding among the trees - they were no longer awesome and glorious, but so silly and miserable. In this way, when they sinned, they lost their integrity as king and queen; they lost their true identity as humans created in God's image, and became strange. Everything was the same in the Garden of Eden, but once they sinned, they could not enjoy a delightful life at all; the Garden of Eden became their hiding place. They lost the delightful life God gave them in the Garden of Eden. When they sinned, they lost everything - their innocence, their integrity, their own beauty, their position as rulers, the meaning and purpose of their life, God's mission, andthe relationship with God. Later, as we see, even their own relationship was broken that they no longer loved each other; whenever Adam thought about how everything started from his wife, he was angry at her and blamed her for this crime. Sin is really terrible. This is the reason why we must not sin, but fight against it at any cost. Because of sin, people lose their purity and they no longer are the same innocent people; because of sin, people lose their bright future; because of sin, people lose their family; because of sin, people cause so much trouble to themselves and to others around them - no more praise-worthy people, but a source of trouble and headaches; because of sin, their conscience is bothered and they cannot be free to love God and pursue Him; because of sin, people become like animals, losing their true value, potential, integrity and beauty. And because of sin, they die physically and spiritually. Don't take sin lightly; don't compromise with sin, but fight against it as the matter of life and death.

 

Look at verse 9. Let’s read this verse together: 

 

But the Lord God called to the man, Where are you?

 

God was not asking where they were hiding because he could not find them. Rather, God was asking them to see what they had become. Where are you? Where should Adam be? He should be in the mission field working hard for God's kingdom purpose. But now where was Adam? He was hiding himself among the trees fearful and shameful. He should be a ruler, and God's missionary, glorious, powerful and beautiful. But because of his sin, he became a fearful fugitive running away from God. God wanted him to recognize his fallen condition and come out to him“Where are you?” This is Jesus’ message for many Christians. He says Revelation 3:5, Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Where are you? This is the voice of the good shepherd, looking for his lost sheepWhere should we be at? As humans created in God's image and assigned to rule over the world, we must be awesome, cool, righteous, and holy, serving God's mission, rejoicing at him and seeking him. But people have lost their true identity because of their sins; they have lost their true integrity because of their love of money and greed; they have lost their beauty and value because of their lust. God sees how miserable they have become and looks for his lost people. When God says, Where are you? it is clear that He is not intending to condemn them and kill them for their sins; instead, he waits for them to recognize their lost condition, repent and turn to him; he wants to restore them. 

 

Third, He will crush your head (10-24). When God called the man, Where are you, Adam should have said, Lord, I am sorry. I sinned. Please, forgive me. But instead, he blamed his wife, saying, The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Then, the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate. No one tried to take responsibility of what he or she had done. In this crime, four parties were involved - the serpent, Satan, the woman and the man, and the severity of their involvement was different. So, God, as the righteous judge, punished them one by one accordingly. Look at verses 14 and 15. Let's read these verses together: 

 

14So the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15And 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.

 

God’s curse upon the serpent has two parts: God's curse on the reptile, snakes, and God's curse on Satan who worked behind the scene. The snakes would crawl on their belly and eat dustIt seems that in the beginning, the snakes had legs, just like the Chinese dragon - snake's body with four legs. John Boos, who was a snake hunter in the ancient times, says that there are traces of the legs on snakes' body. The book of Revelation describes Satan as the great dragon-that ancient serpent, called the devil. (Rev. 12:9) Also, they say that the snakes come to be aware of the surrounding environment as they stick their tongues out in the air and taste dust.

 

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. God’s curse on Satan was that someday, a man would be born from a woman, and he would destroy Satan – he would be the Messiah for all people under Satan's rule, the Savior of the lost mankind. But Satan would fight him back, striking his heel, causing great pain to him - the woman's offspring would suffer a lot in destroying Satan. This prophecy is called, the pre-gospel. Since sin began with the woman, so the restoration would begin with the woman as well. This promise of God’s salvation through the woman’s offspring is the key theme that flows throughout the entire Bible. The Bible is about this offspring of the woman. Technically, in those days, the expression, woman's offspring was not possible, because, women were not considered at all, even not counted in the census - all people were men's offspring in those days and even todayBut there was one person in history that was born of a virgin, without a male involved; his name is Jesus - he is rightly titled as the woman's offspring. Jesus destroyed Satan through his death andresurrection. Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise of God.

 

Look at verse 16. To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. God’s curse upon women has two parts also. God cursed them with pains in childbearing and delivery. Other female animals do not suffer that much in pregnancy and delivery, but human females suffer a lot. Since this curse fell on physical body, women will be set free from this curse when their body is redeemed with the resurrection body. God also said, Your desire will be for your husband. Before, the woman’s desire was for God and for God’s mission; with God she would be happy. But now her desire was downgraded to her husband; she would seek her husband's love. She seeks her husband’s love, but the problem is that no husband is great enough; compared to the greatness and awesomeness of God, all males, even the world's best husband candidate is just silly to her that her soul cannot be satisfied, and thereby, she comes to have the thirst of her soul that cannot be quenched. Moreover, even if she finds the most desirable husband, his whole concern is not about loving her as much as she desires; instead, he rules over her. All women are under this curse, looking for a prince charming expecting that once they find one, he would love them and they would be happy - they all live a cursed life throughout their life. 

 

Jesus died on the cross to get rid of this curse from women so that they may not live the cursed life of desiring for husband any longer, but the blessed life of seeking God and serving God's mission as God originally designed. It is nonsense that so many women believe in Jesus, go to church, but still live a cursed life, living according to their cursed desire for husband, seeking a romantic relationship and looking for a prince charming even in the church. Jesus invites them all to Himself for true satisfaction and happiness, saying, Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again. But he who drinks the water I give him will never thirst.Ladies, do not let your cursed desire control and lead your whole life; don't live the cursed life of desiring for husband, but live the blessed life of desiring for God in Jesus Christ - this is the salvation from the cursed life in Jesus Christ.

 

Look at verses 17 through 19. Let’s read these verses together: 

 

17To Adam he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By 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.

 

Before cursing the man, God first pointed out Adam’s sin, saying, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘you must not eat of it. God was hurt that Adam had sided with his wife. 

 

God's curse on the man has two parts also. God first cursed the ground so that it might not produce food for Adam easily. Instead, the ground produced thistles and thorns. Now Adam had a new challenge - survival. His utmost concern became how to secure the next meal and survive in the world. Before, he had no need to worry about survival, because God took care of it for him; he just strived to serve God's mission, and all things were provided. Thus, he could live as God's missionary. But now, he had to survive on his own, and thereby, he could not serve God's mission. Simply, he was fired; he became a bread seeker. God said to him, By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground. When people live their life for survival as bread seekers, they find no meaning at all. Unsuccessful people in the world feel miserable and empty. Successful people, after making a lot of money, don't know what to do next - simply, in their life, there is no purpose, direction or meaning at all. All humans throughout history share the same testimony all the time: Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! 

 

All people today struggle to build their career, secure their life, support their family - they struggle hard to be successful in this dog-eat-dog world. Today’s passage shows that that is the cursed life - all people live the cursed life. Even though people go to church and confess their faith in Jesus, they still live as bread seekers, not as God's missionaries. Jesus Christ died on the cross to remove this curse from mankind and bring to us the blessed life of serving God's mission. Believers must not live this cursed life any longer, but the life of serving God's mission. How? By faith in God! Jesus says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things (job, food, house, everything we need for survival in the world) will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:33) Those who do not have faith in God still live the cursed life of bread seeker in the world, but those who have faith in God can now live as God's missionaries, seeking God's kingdom work and the right relationship with God.

 

Adam received the death sentence as the representative of humans. God said, 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. Originally, humans were to live forever; God even gave them the tree of life so that they would eat from it and live forever just like God. But now humans were disconnected from God the source of life due to their sins, so they could not identify themselves with God. Then, without God, what kind of beings are they? They are nothing but the dust of the ground - no value and no beauty. For dust you are and to dust you will return. Since death came into the world, human life changed completely. During their whole life, death is present, influencing them and bothering them all the time. People are scared; parents tremble all the time; people are sorrowful, and insurance companies make a lot of money. Indeed, all mankind have been living in the shadow of death. We thank God for being mindful of our lost condition and giving us the promise of the Messiah, the offspring of the woman. We thank God for Jesus, our Savior who saves us from all these curses and gives us a new life, a delightful life as children of God. Jesus is the hope of the world; He is the light of the world. Only in him, we find a truly delightful, meaningful and fulfilling life. Praise Jesus who gives us victory.

 

Look at verse 20. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. When God cursed Satan and mentioned about the offspring of the woman, Adam grasped what God was talking about; he found the hope of life and restoration. Then, he could see the value of the woman. So he named her Eve, which means, living. Thus, his relationship with the woman was mended, and his family was restored. Then, verse 21 says, The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them. In order to cover their nakedness, they had made coverings with fig leaves. Such coverings with fig leaves were not good - they would not last; they would not cover their shame. So, God took them away from Adam and Eve; instead, he sacrificed animals, shedding blood, and made garments of skin for Adam and Eve, and clothed them. This is one key theme that goes through the entire Bible - with the blood sacrifice, humans' shame is covered; in the Old Testament, God did this with the blood of animals, but it was just the shadow of the real one to come, the blood sacrifice of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Through his blood sacrifice on the cross, all our shame and nakedness is covered. The Bible says, Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Rm 13:14) 

 

Look at verses 22 through 25. Now Adam and Eve became sinful - their nature was corrupt, no longer innocent people, but sinful people. It was never a good idea that they would eat from the tree of life and live forever as sinful people. So, God banished them from the Garden of Eden to work the ground. And he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. The tree of life was not for God, but for humans. The reason God kept the tree of life was because He had the hope that later humans would return not with corrupt nature, but as innocent people just in the way He had originally designed in the beginning, and they would eat from the tree of life and live with him forever. Now God was planning to remove man's sin problem and restore mankind to their original status so that they may eat from the tree of life and live forever together with Him. That became God’s mission to the lost world. God has been pursuing this for the past 6 thousand years, even willing to pay the highest price for it – his Son’s death on the cross. God has been really dedicated to this mission; this is what He is doing even today. This shows his real desire for us – He wants us to be restored to our original status and eat from the tree of life and live forever with Him in his kingdom. Let’s accept his love for us. Let’s put our trust in him, for He is good for us. No one knew what He was doing, but a few thousand years later, one person named Abraham finally came to know it, and he became God’s friend. Then, some time later, another person, named Moses came to know it, so he too became God’s friend. Jesus says, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” Let’s work together with Him for this purpose, to bring this lost world back to His kingdom.

 

In this passage, we learned how important it is to hold on toGod’s command and obey it absolutely - it is the matter of life and death, matter of everything or nothing. God’s command leads us to eternal life. Let’s pray that we may defeat Satan by holding ontoGod’s word absolutely. Praise God who gives us the hope of lifein Jesus.  Let's pray that we may bring this good news of God's love for the lost people to many people on our campuses.

 

One Word:Where Are You?

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