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Today in Genesis chapter 3 we read about The Fall. Chapter 3 is a foundational chapter of the Bible to understand. From this chapter our history goes forward with sin passed on to every man and woman through the seed of Adam. This sets the stage for God's pursuit of men and women in Genesis, followed by the Exodus from Egypt, the Laws, the judges, the kings, the prophets - and ultimately the final solution to the Fall: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (ultra-Cliff Notes version here... you'll get the full version of all of this over the next 363 days... :-) It is through belief in Jesus as Messiah that we are saved from what began here in Genesis chapter 3.
In verses 1 through 4 in today's readings we are first introduced to the devil in the Bible, who clothes himself as a snake. The devil is often referred to as the "great deceiver", and in this chapter you can see why. I think an important thing for us to realize today is that the devil continues to work in our world. He continues to deceive men and women. And, unfortunately, he is good at what he does. I have a hunch that probably a few people reading this blog do not believe in the existence of the devil. I will admit that early in my Christian walk, I did not believe in the devil's existence. However - thankfully, I was discipled by a godly man who counseled me through Bible passages that prove his existence - chapter 3 of Genesis certainly being one. In fact, one interesting thing my friend said to me at this early stage of my Christian walk was this - "The devil's greatest trick is to make you think that he does not exist." This is a very powerful statement. Please consider it. Why would this be his greatest trick? Because if you believe there is no devil, then you may believe there is no evil, and you then may believe that there is really no sin or nothing you can do wrong, and then you may come to believe that there is no moral code. You see the slippery slope of not acknowledging and realizing the existence of the devil and evil? I hesitated to post up this picture below - I really don't like it at all - but I think it's appropriate for this conversation. It reminded me of the temptation of our modern day addictions - like pornography or drugs etc. - the apple perhaps looks tasty at first glance, but you can't bite the apple without getting bit by the snake and getting poisoned...
The other problem of not realizing the existence of the devil or evil is that you can more easily be tempted and enslaved to bad habits and sins. So - I know I'm going on quite a bit here about this point - I just want to encourage you to ask yourself - do you believe in the existence of the devil? Do you believe in the existence of evil? Of temptation? Of sin? There is a remedy and solution to protect and keep you from all of this - and that is Jesus. But, it's possible that you may not run into the loving and saving arms of Jesus if you don't believe in the devil or evil. Second to last point - a book that did help open my eyes in a big way to existence of evil in our world today is Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness". It is a Christian book and one that I believe will really bring home the seriousness of evil and temptation in our world today. You may want to check it out if you have questions on all of this. Also, C.S. Lewis, in the intro to his incredible book about evil and temptation in our lives called "The Screwtape Letters" writes this: "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight." A great quote... and a great reminder to not have an excessive nor unhealthy interest in the devil or evil - this is of course extremely dangerous! And the bottom line is of course to turn your eyes and gaze toward God and Jesus for ultimate protection - and I do believe reading the Bible each day is one of the best ways to do exactly this!
In verses 12 and 13 we see Adam and Eve passing the buck on why they sinned. Check out Adam's words in verse 12: ""but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it." At first glance you might think that Adam is just blaming Eve in this verse, but note that he is also blaming God! "the woman YOU gave me..." Adam was blaming God and Eve - anybody but himself. How often do we do this in our lives? Blame others for our mistakes? The painting immediately below I think captures Adam's words and expression in verse 12 above perfectly!
Verse 15 is a prophetic verse that carries forward to Jesus: "From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."" This last sentence refers to Jesus ultimately defeating the devil through his life, death on the cross, and resurrection!
Below is "The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise" by American Neoclassical Painter Benjamin West from the year 1791:
In Genesis chapter 4 we read about the first murder of humankind - Cain killing his own brother Abel in a premeditative way. This is a clear demonstration of The Fall and how sin lives in the hearts of men and women - and can only be redeemed and forgiven today through faith in Jesus and through God's grace. Many of you probably asked yourselves, why didn't God look with favor on Cain's offering? Commentaries I've read suggest that Cain's offering was a careless or thoughtless offering whereas Abel's offering was a choice or generous offering. And God saw the motivation and heart attitude of both men as they brought their offering. It seems that God is looking straight into Cain's heart as he says this in verses 6 and 7: "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked him. "Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it." That is a scary thought - sin waiting to attack and destroy. In the NIV it translates "sin is crouching at your door." Let us be watchful and prayerful to not be overtaken by sin, but to respond correctly to the grace and strength given us through Jesus. Below is a modern image by an unknown artist of Cain just after killing Abel. Do you see the contrast of light & dark and which way Cain is facing? This is a powerful image to consider...:
Genesis 4:17 - "Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch." - brings up the big question of "Where did Cain's wife come from?" The short answer to this is that his wife was a sister, niece, great-niece, or family member of some sort, which brings up the next question about why was there inter-family marriage in the Bible. Let me refer you to 3 great website links to give you more in-depth answers on these questions. Please do read the long answer at this link and a short answer at this link to these questions regarding Cain's wife.
In chapter 4 verse 19 polygamy enters history: "Lamech married two women--Adah and Zillah." Polygamy clearly went against God's divine intention of monogamy in Genesis chapter 2:24 - "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." God's original plan early on in the Bible is monogamy in marriage. We will see many cases of polygamy this year as we read through the One Year Bible - this is humankind thwarting God's will - which we will also see in many ways throughout our readings this year. I think sometimes we can get hung up on the "strange stuff" we read about in the Bible - but one important point to make is this - The Bible records both God's will and teachings, and people's sin. So if we happen to read about people's sin in the Bible, as we do here in verse 19 with Lamech's polygamy, please don't confuse this with this being God's will. It's people's sin. And we'll see this again in the Bible - fortunately we have a loving God who sent his son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. Heavy that they are...
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of the terrific song “In Christ Alone” sung here live by Shane and Shane:
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Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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