Don’t lose the trail!

[The Lord God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:11-15

 

Little Cypress Creek Preserve Tree #3 | Cypress, Texas | February 2021

If you’ve had children you know the technique: You inquire about the report of your son’s misbehavior at school. He immediately tries to pass the blame. “It was Tommy’s idea! I was just standing there and he dared me to come along with him!” You turn to his older brother, “Tommy, what have you done?” “It wasn’t my fault. Joe hit me, and I had to get him back.” 

Now where do you turn? You’ve been thrown off the trail of culpability. You’ve been sidetracked. You’ve lost the opportunity to provide the important lesson of consequences. 

God does not lose the trail, though Adam and Eve try their best to sidestep their responsibility for the eaten fruit and lost innocence. They should know better than to think they could hide from God, but they try to do so anyway. And God comes looking for them. 

Then they pass the blame. Adam blames God for giving him the woman who gave him the fruit. The woman blames the serpent who deceived her. And God will deal with each one. In turn. Without fail. There will be an accounting. Starting (but not ending!) with the serpent. 

The serpent is cursed by God. He will be the lowliest of all the livestock and beasts of the field. He will crawl on his belly. He shall eat dust. And there will come a Seed of the Woman who will crush his head – even though he will strike the heel of the Seed of the woman. 

This is the first Gospel promise: the protoevangelium. Even as God is cursing the serpent – whom we know to be Satan – he is offering a promise. There’s hope. There is judgment. But there is grace. This is remarkable on two counts. First of all, God does not lose the trail of consequences and accountability. He will finish with the serpent and follow on with Eve, and then Adam. They will all be held to account. That is important. No one skates. No one will escape the judgment.

But, secondly and more important, there is also a promise. God is not content only to condemn. He will save. He will send the Seed of the woman – the Savior. The Seed will be deliver a decisive blow to the serpent’s head. He will be wounded, but he will crush the head of Satan. 

This will be fulfilled when Jesus takes his place on the cross, and delivers the decisive victory which we are all invited to share. 

Be honest. Never doubt that you will be held accountable before God. But be even more hopeful. You will find grace in the Seed of the Woman – Jesus. God won’t lose the trail on either count.

[The Lord God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:11-19

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