Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

30 The pollution of peace

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Genesis 3:1-3:24

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” 2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. 8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” 11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” 14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. 15  And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16 Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” 17 And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust,    and to dust you will return.” 20 Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. 21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings[e] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”

No matter when you turn on the news there is always some story of pain and suffering. Our world is filled with reports of people hurting each other and the awful way in which we tend to treat others. You don’t have to go far to find evidence of evil in this world. When we hear about these hideous stories we are tempted to ask, “How could people do such a thing?” and we could ask “Why?” a thousand times, “Why would they harm an innocent child?” “Why would a parent abandon their kids?” Why would a man walk out and leave his family?” “Why would they blow up a building and kill children and babies?” “Why do the innocent have to suffer?” Why, why, why? It is in Genesis 3 that we see the beginning of every bad thing that ever happens in this world, whether it is disease, death, divorce, depression, or destitution it is tied to the fall of man, when sin entered the human heart. It is here in Genesis 3 that we see:

  • The deceptive character of sin – Verses 1-6

The serpent was far from a slithering and frightful snake, when Eve saw him she didn’t run away screaming but instead appears to be drawn in. Throughout scripture the bible reveals the crafty character of the serpent and his sly nature. Revelation 12:9 “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Matthew 4:3 “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” As a deceiver the Devil draws us in, luring us with his lies. Satan is the malevolent monster who dominates and controls the thinking of this world, in John 12:31 Jesus called him “The ruler of this world” and Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4 called him, “The god of the world”. Not only does Satan dominate worldly thinking but he drives its philosophy, whispering subtle but outrageous claims that captivate the carnal mind and make men drool with desire.  As you look at his process of deceiving, first you see him questioning the Word of God with the goal of creating doubt and causing us to join him in questioning God. When he did this Satan caused Eve to focuses on the one boundary rather than all the freedom she had. She missed all of the blessings of God, His abundant provision and care. Why did Eve even give Satan an audience, why would we? Why do we listen to his lies and entertain his deceptive doubt? He doesn’t just question and create doubt, he openly denies God’s Word, “you shall will not surely die” Added to this Satan now questions God’s motives, claiming that God is trying to keep something good from us. His plan is simple, inject doubt, deny and create distrust with God. The end result of temptation is that it creates lustful desires, instead of contentment there are only cravings, instead of satisfaction there is only sin. I John 2:16 says: “For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.” Who are you listening to and believing, the Lord or the lies? Next we see:

  • The destructive consequences of sin – Verses 7-24

Temptation is always a con-job, because the payoff of sin never produces what it promises. Sin always seduces and draws us in, giving us a guarantee of untold riches only to rob us blind. Instead of satisfying, sin strips us, leaving us not only destitute of dignity but dealing with the ugly reality of death. James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.” Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. If you want to see what sin can do to human life go visit a hospital, graveyards or courtroom. Sin destroys our innocence, and just like Adam and Eve we experience shame and guilt. It destroys our relationships, first with God, then others and finally with ourselves. It destroys our sense of responsibility, Adam blamed God and then Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. Instead of taking personal responsibility they passed the buck. Sin also destroys God’s plan for peace and prosperity in our lives. God’s plan for Adam and Eve was paradise not the parasite of sin, but when sin entered in both man and creation paid the price. The judgment for the woman was both pain in childbirth as well as subjection to her husband. The man now had to work in a cursed environment and both had to deal with death. The consequences of sin affect our entire being, body, soul, emotions, character, will and spirit. Yet in the midst of the deceptive and destructive consequences of sin we see:

  • The divine covering for sin – Verse 21

Adam and Eves first reaction to sin was to try and cover themselves, and ever since Adam and Eve we have been hard at work following in their first footsteps, trying to cover sin ourselves. Today some react by trying to cover their sin with religion, good works, or even denying in as sin. But only God has the power to deal with your sin, verse 21 says: “And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.” They had tried to cover their shame with fig leaves but it didn’t work, only God could do that, for it required a sacrifice and the shedding of blood. This was a defining sacrifice, a sign that pointed to the promise of the coming Lamb of God who would shed His blood for all sinners so that their sin and shame would not just be covered but conquered. Like Adam and Eve we too have fallen prey to the prowling lion who roams around roaring and looking for those he can devour and destroy. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and the consequences of sin is why life is so hard and harsh. Yet God sent His Lamb to the altar so that we could be bought by the precious blood. Have you experienced the purifying power of His blood? Have you responded in faith to the Fathers forgiveness? It is in Genesis 3 that we see in the midst of the miserable consequences Adam reveal his belief in God’s promise in the way he responds to Gods Word. In verse 19 we see the climax of the curse on man, death, and we might expect Adams respond to be one of self-pity: “Why me, it’s not fair” such is the despair of unbelief. Yet Adam looks past his pain to God’s promise, for it is here that he names his wife, “Eve,” which means, “Life” because she would be the mother of all who live. Adam doesn’t deny that he will die, but he acknowledges and focuses on faith not failure. He recognizes the curse, that his work will be toilsome, but he looks to the promise that from their offspring will come One who will crush the curse. Not just to bruise but to break the head of the serpent. So because of his believe in God’s Word he named his wife, ‘Living’ faith always moves us from attitude to action, words to works. What an amazing act of faith, faced with the finality of his own death, Adam looks at his wife and says, “Despite the curse you are, ‘Life’ because our God has promised to bring life out of death.” What about you are you responding to and receiving God’s promises by faith? Do you trust in His conquering promise and provision or are you still trying to cover things yourself? Are you living out and proclaiming the power of His promise not just in word but in deed? How are you dealing with the destructive consequences of sin are you whining or winning? Are you living life alert to the deceptive character of sin or are you disregarding its dangers? Even in the midst of the pollution of peace God had a plan and promised to send His provision, His One and only Son Jesus Christ to come and to die in our place so that we could have life. Have you placed you faith in His provision? Just as 1 John 5:11-12 promises  “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” Do you have the Lord of life or are you still caught in the lie?

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