Hi UP Members!
Our first Advent reading is Genesis 3:18-15:
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
So the LORD God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent:
Because you have done this,
you are cursed more than any livestock
and more than any wild animal.
You will move on your belly
and eat dust all the days of your life.
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.
When I consider this passage, I am surprised by God’s restraint.
His beautiful Creation. The abundance of the Garden of Eden. The perfection of Adam and Eve.
All marred by their sin.
Now they are hiding, afraid, and ashamed.
Does God smite them? Send them straight to hell?
Surprisingly, God approaches them. He talks with them. He invites them into conversation. And yes, he pronounces curses. There is a consequence to sin.
But in doing so, he also offers hope. How?
First, let me share a story from my childhood. If we were winning a race, you might hear the taunt, “eat my dust!” It was a way of saying, “You’re defeated.”
The serpent’s “big win” is met with immediate defeat. God consigns him to eat dust.
More relevant to the cultural context of Genesis than my childhood, The IVP Bible Background Commentary notes:
The depiction of dust or dirt for food is typical of descriptions of the netherworld in ancient literature…Dust fills the mouth of the corpse, but dust will also fill the mouth of the serpent as it crawls along the ground.
Second, we are promised that an offspring of Eve will strike the serpent’s head.
In Mark 1, Jesus encounters a man with an unclean spirit. This man cries out,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
The serpent has remembered this promise. Through this man, we see that Satan knows that Jesus is the promised seed who has come to destroy him.
And how did this happen?
Remarkably, the same God who pronounced these curses became the one who rescued us from them.
As we read in Colossians 2:14-15,
He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.
Advent is a time of preparation and waiting. God’s people had… a long wait from the time of this promise to Adam and Eve until the arrival of Jesus. What’s the difference between waiting with hope… and without hope?
God provides us with hope through making promises and his own sacrificial fulfillment of them. How does knowing God’s identity give us hope?
You are encouraged to share other reflections on these passages.