Theme of the Week: Genesis
Bible Verse: So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. Genesis 3:23
Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1-24
The events of Genesis 3 are probably familiar, perhaps a little too familiar. Serpent lies. Eve eats. Adam joins. God walks. Humans hide. God curses and promises, covers and banishes.
There is so much to explore in this chapter, we could probably spend the entire week talking about the significance of each part of the story. As far as the big story unfolding, we are barely past the opening scene. God has created this brand-new thing (the universe – but the text really focuses on the earth), and it is really good. God does good work. But, again, like all good stories, it doesn’t take long to introduce the antagonist and the crisis.
The serpent. We often focus on what the serpent said to Eve, how he twisted God’s words to deceive her, and use that to figure out how we might recognize and avoid his tactics in the future. But what we sometimes overlook is who the serpent is really attacking. It is not the humans who are the target. They are simply a means to an end.
While the serpent is certainly trying to mislead and bamboozle this young creation of God, it is God Himself that the serpent is attacking. The serpent maligns God’s goodness and honesty. The serpent presents itself as humanity’s benefactor, the one who is truly looking out for humanity’s good, not this creator God, not this one who has lied and withheld from you.
When the humans believe the lie, they break bonds with the Creator. We are not left to wonder long what God’s response will be.
Upon learning of the humans’ choice, God announces the consequences. To and on the very good creation that we have just recently read God was so pleased with, he pronounces several curses. One on the deceiver serpent. One on Eve. One on the ground because of Adam. Terrible consequences all . . . although we do not feel bad for the serpent.
But the direst consequence comes at the end of the chapter when God exiles the man and woman from the special place He had made for them. The symbolism should not be missed here. The garden was the place God wanted the humans to live. It was the place where he walked. It was the place where humans and God met in fellowship. And now the humans could no longer access that place.
How quickly the story takes a dark and foreboding turn. If it were not for a small phrase in the middle of what God says to the woman, it would be difficult to be hopeful for the rest of the story. God promises that Eve’s “seed,” her offspring, would one day crush the one who came between God and his creation.
This devotion has obviously left out much of this part of the story. Go back and read it for yourself. What is important for us to see is that in His story, the hero takes action. And we, as readers, are propelled forward in the story in anticipation of what comes next. What will humans do outside of the garden? What will God do next?
Prayer: God, thank you for such an incredible story. Thank you that what you have recorded helps me understand who I am and where we are in the world. Thank you for the hope that you give even in the midst of consequences. Help me to read your story well so that I can see you better.
Reflection: When you read the story of the serpent in the garden, what do you see? What parts of the story stand out to you? Why?
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