Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Covered...Or Am I?

So, Adam and Eve realized they were naked. What happens next is going to be something we can all relate to whether we want to admit it or not. Look again at Genesis 3:7:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
They tried to cover themselves. Hmmm. Isn’t that what we do? Try to cover our sin?

Adam and Eve used fig leaves. What do we try to cover ourselves with?

I have tried through the years to cover myself with good deeds, acts of service, quiet times, tithes, etc, as if any of it would take care of my sin problem and my separation from God. What does scripture say about the coverings we make for ourselves? Earlier in this study, we looked up Isaiah 64:6.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…

Those fig leaves are like filthy rags. But…we do need to be covered. Soon we will get to the clothing that covers all our sin and makes us righteous before God, but first let’s look at what else Adam and Eve do. Read Genesis 3:8:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

They covered themselves with fig leaves and sensing that it still wasn’t enough, they hid. Again, can you relate? We all try to hide our sin. We hide it from other people, we even hide it from ourselves by refusing to think about it and somehow, in doing this, we think we are hiding it from God. Let’s go to scripture again to see what God has to say about that. Look at Hebrews 4:13:

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

So we see Adam and Eve attempt to cover their sin and hide from God, both of which are impossible by the way. There was sin and there would be serious consequences. There were three involved in the incident and all will suffer the consequences for it and we’re going to look at it all a little more closely. If we don’t understand the consequences, we’ll never understand the grace. God had words for the serpent, for Eve, and finally, for Adam. Today let’s look at what God said to the serpent.

Read Genesis 3:14-15:

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
First, God tells the serpent he will be cursed…“Cursed…above all the livestock and all the wild animals.” So what does that mean exactly? The word translated as “cursed” is the Hebrew word Arar. This word occurs 63 times in the Old Testament. It “has been interpreted as meaning to bind, to hem in with obstacles, to render powerless to resist.” Then God said, “you will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” This seems a little more obvious. Doesn’t this bring the image of a snake to mind? Apparently, the serpent had some other way of getting around before, but now will be crawling on its belly and eating dust.

Let’s read the second part again. Verse 15 says that God will put enmity between the serpent and the woman and between the serpent’s offspring and hers and that he will crush the serpent's head and the serpent will strike his heel. What do you think this means? Don’t know? That’s okay because I’m happy to tell you we’re getting to the GOOD NEWS! The Gospel! But wait, let’s slow down and take a good close look.

Now, the head of anything is its most important part. We can live without several of our body parts, but not without our heads (though sometimes I feel I’ve lost mine). The head of a company is the big boss, the one in charge. The head of the serpent being crushed means that the serpent will be defeated once and for all. An offspring of the woman would ultimately destroy the serpent for good. Any idea who that might be?

That’s right! This is the part where we see Jesus was there from the very beginning! So there’s no mistaking, get your Bible out. I want you to see in black and white where it is recorded that Jesus is Adam and Eve’s offspring. Look at Luke 3 starting in verse 23 and then scan through to verse 38. Seriously, stop and get your Bible.

Isn’t that awesome? But lest we take this lightly, there is an addendum to the promise that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head. Verse 15 ends with, “and you will strike his heel.” What do you think that means?

When you think of someone crushing a serpent’s head, what part of the body would they use? I would imagine it’s a foot. But that foot that crushes the head will be wounded. There is a cost involved. That cost is the cross. That "heel" delivers a death blow to the head but is itself wounded.

Look at Isaiah 53:4-10 and consider for yourself all the words and phrases that describe what “strike his heel” looked like at the cross. Please take your time with this and consider the cost.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

Wow. Can you see Jesus? It is powerful stuff and it is good news for us. Next time (and I swear I won’t take so long next time) we will go backwards a little bit and look at the specific consequences for Eve. We'll quickly discover how those consequences affect us all. But don’t forget there is good news.

Until then, consider how you are attempting to cover your own sin and how truly insufficient that cover is. We will soon talk about an effective covering that brings complete forgiveness and freedom.

I’d love to hear from you!

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