Daily Distinctives, February 14, 2018 – Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day to all who join me here for this devotional. When I write these I don’t ever really know who may or may not be on and tracking with me. But if you do and you come across this daily devotional, I hope you had a wonderful Valentines Day. Now, I love how I get to look back on my day when I do my devotional at night and try to find similarities. Perhaps I have to stretch it a little to find commonalities between my day and the verses I happen to be reading at the time, and I am pretty sure that this would be a reach considering the content of today’s devotional, but here I go.

Valentines Day. The day we celebrate our companionships and love for others. Here we are in the garden with Adam and Eve, and they just made the biggest “oops” in the history of humanity. They are sentenced to death ultimately, cursed and kicked out of the garden! How would you like to see that on a Valentines Day card, right? Now, here is the reach. During Valentines Day, we see all kinds of cards with hearts and stuff, and for many Valentines Day themes, we see the unofficial mascot, the Cupid. Now the cupid is this sweet little cherub looking angel that floats on a cloud armed with a bow and arrow to shoot at would-be lovers as they gaze deeply into one another’s eyes. Well in today’s verses we find a cherub, but in this case, he is armed with a flaming sword, and his goal is not to create a little heaven on earth and help two starstruck lovers find the loves of their lives but to keep two lovers from gaining access to the tree of life! There you have it. A bit of a stretch, but I found a way to link today with my verses. I am sure my reflections will be a little less superficial, but hey, I tried. Anyways, on to the devo.

In my last study, I uncovered the sin and separation initiated by the serpent, but resulting from Adam and Eve’s disobedience; a free will choice that the first couple made themselves. God confronts them like a loving father and convicts them for their sin. While they tried to hide from the LORD and cover their sin, nothing is hidden from the LORD (Hebrews 4:13), but the fact they tried to hide from the LORD is truly heartbreaking. And so we find God in the garden dealing out the punishment, righteously dealt I must add, as the consequence of sin. That is the thing about sin, it always has consequences. We may not see them immediately, but be assured that they will come. God had promised that they would die.

[Gen 2:17 NKJV] “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now, while they did not die physically on that day, there was certainly a spiritual death. The relationship they enjoyed with God was severed and only an act of God could restore the relationship that had put enmity between the first couple and the LORD (more on that later). But we know that eventually, they would die a physical death. This is sad because they could have lived in paradise with God forever had they only been obedient.  And so we understand that while we may not see the consequences of our sin immediately, we can be sure that our sin will find us out. While Adam and Eve were responsible for their own sins, the devil played a role in this perversion of perfect peace and would be held accountable.

[Gen 3:14 NKJV] So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You [are] cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

Once the most glorious of all the angels before pride and disobedience brought him low, here we have the devil brought even lower. As we read in our previous study, the serpent was more cunning than any of the beasts of the field and now he is cast down to his belly and is cursed more than all the cattle and more than every beast of the field. It is at this point that some speculate that this amazing creature that perhaps the devil had indwelled became like the serpents we see today. I don’t know about all of that, but then again, I wasn’t there. The point is that he was cursed. But I find something else interesting here. It says that he was cursed more than the cattle and more than the beast of the field. This would imply that the cattle and the beasts were cursed to some degree too. The thing that I have discovered is that when Adam and Eve sinned against God, they brought a curse upon the entire creation. I wonder if this was the day the Second Law of Thermodynamics went into effect? We see that the whole of creation was cursed when we read verses like those found in Romans:

[Rom 8:20 NKJV] For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected [it] in hope;
[Rom 8:21 NKJV] because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
[Rom 8:22 NKJV] For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.


[Rom 5:14 NKJV] Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

And so all of creation was subjected to the fall of Adam resulting in a change from what God had made “good” into something that was polluted by evil.  We are living in a world that is groaning for redemption, and I praise God that He made a way for us to be redeemed and that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The author continues:

[Gen 3:15 NKJV] And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

There can be no doubt that this is a prophetic proclamation here. God reveals the way in which the devil would be defeated. While Satan would strike Jesus (bruise His heel), Jesus would have victory over him (bruise his head). We know that the blow Satan delivered would not be permanent death for Jesus, we also see the same word in the Hebrew for the word bruise used in the counterattack against Satan. And while Jesus will not entirely annihilate Satan, that is, blot him from existence, the bruise that Jesus will deliver will cast Satan into the depths of hell for all of eternity. Satan will not get away with this at all. But we as we read on, we see that neither will Adam and Eve. God is a God of Justice, and while He reserves the right to punish, it never ceases to amaze me as to how gracious He is towards those whom He made in His image.

[Gen 3:16 NKJV] To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire [shall be] for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

Tonight, we had the wonderful privilege of celebrating a new life that entered into our world today as a couple from our life-group delivered their first child. I would be willing to bet if you were to read verse 16 to the new mother she would agree with this verse wholeheartedly! The curse that is laid upon the woman and every woman subsequently is the pain of labor. But I would say the pain of labor would be “child’s play” compared to the second part of the curse levied against women here. In the second part of this verse, we see that the woman’s desire would be for her husband. What does that exactly mean? That sounds like a good thing. But the reality is that what just occurred is what we refer to now as the “battle of the wills.” Prior to the fall, the man was given authority but as an equal with his mate. Now, as a result of the curse, the woman and all of her sisters who would follow would desire to be the authority and usurp the order in which God had ordained at creation. I like what one of my commentaries says about this and I will share it here:

“As a result of the fall, man no longer rules easily; he must fight from his headship. Sin has corrupted both the willing submission of the wife and the loving headship of the husband. The woman’s desire is to control her husband (to usurp his divinely appointed headship), and he must master her, if he can. So the rule of love founded in paradise is replaced by struggle, tyranny and domination.” (Susan T. Foh, cited in Boice)

As if having a wife with a “Type-A” personality wasn’t challenging enough. Thanks, Adam and Eve! And I am married to a believing wife. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for marriages today that aren’t centered around the grace of Jesus Christ who brings restoration and the promise of the everlasting! Now, before you think that Eve got the bad end of the deal, she really got off easy. She certainly did not get what she deserved (she was deserving of death), and well, neither did Adam.

[Gen 3:17 NKJV] Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed [is] the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat [of] it All the days of your life.

I can imagine the ground saying, “Hey…wait a minute…what did I do.” You might be thinking, “Don’t be silly Nick, the ground can’t talk!” Well, I just read about a serpent talking so that is not too big of a reach buster! Seriously though, this goes to support what I said earlier about the whole creation is the recipient of the curse. Here we see that no longer would the ground yield to Adam, who cared for it, as it did before. Prior to the fall, gardening was a simple thing. The ground yielded its fruit readily. Now the ground would become as hard as the hearts of Adam and Eve. Just as Eve heeded the enticement of the serpent, Adam heeded the enticement of his wife and listened to her. See Erin (that’s my wife) this is why I don’t listen to you. Just kidding. My wife is my most trusted advisor, friend, and confidant. We were given new lives when we gave our lives to the LORD and now we are one flesh together. I trust her and I love her with all my heart (Happy Valentines Day babe)! I understand the struggle she must have, especially knowing who I am. But alas, even my work does not come easily to me as a result of the fall.

[Gen 3:18 NKJV] Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
[Gen 3:19 NKJV] In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you [are], And to dust you shall return.”

Now, I have had my share of backbreaking, arduous labor in my day. I am blessed to have the work that I have now, but it does not come without a great deal of work and sometimes even stress. I recognize that all that I have comes from the LORD, but I also realize that He gives it to me through the work He provides for me. It doesn’t always come easy. But this makes me all the more thankful for the blessings which He has bestowed upon my family. I think about the Israelites in their wilderness journey in Exodus. They were given Manna from heaven and quail in the droves, and yet they complained. LORD help me to always be grateful for the things You have given me.

In the last part of the verse, the reality must have sadly kicked in for Adam. God reveals to Adam how he was created. You were taken out of the ground that I just cursed, You are made of the ground I just cursed, and your body will rot in the ground that I just cursed. I can imagine God’s heartbreaking, “My son, I did not want this for you, but you brought this upon yourself. But don’t you worry, I will make a way to reunite us.”

[Gen 3:20 NKJV] And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Now, I know I have been referring to the woman as Eve throughout my studies, simply because I have read the story and I know that is what her name would be. Before this, she was referred to as, woman, wife, helpmeet, etc…But this is where the big reveal is actually given. She is given the name Eve because she was the mother of all the living. That is, she would ultimately bring about the successive generations through the fruit of her womb. Adam names her in faith. He trusts that God would bring forth a redeemer through his lineage. He listened to what God had said and he knew that from the seed of the woman Satan would be defeated.

[Gen 3:21 NKJV] Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

It is at this point that I see how it is that God was able to commune with the sinful couple after the fall. You see, God gave them clothing made from skin. What this tells me is that one of the animals in the creation had to die. You don’t get skin without an animal dying. Now the humorous side of me is thinking that is why today we have Sphynx cats, but I digress. The LORD made a sacrifice to cover the sins of Adam and Eve. Without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22). What this shows me is that God was still very much concerned for the lives of Adam and Eve. He did not turn His back on them. While He physically covered them, He also spiritually covered them. While Adam and Eve were clothed literally by the life of an animal, the animal was sacrificed as a spiritual covering. Today we too are clothed in righteousness, but this covering came at a great cost, the life another sacrifice, Jesus our LORD.

Next, we see the Trinity discussing the ramifications of this whole ordeal brought upon by pride and disobedience. As the Godhead convenes they speak together on the matter.

[Gen 3:22 NKJV] Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”–

Some speculate that this was an act of mercy by God so that humanity would not have to live forever as sinners in a fallen world, but I think this goes a lot deeper than that. And while I can appreciate this speculation, I tend to think that because man had become like gods, in the sense that they were free moral agents who went from being good to being sinners, if allowed to live long enough, they might even achieve a greater ruin for themselves.  As we will see later in Genesis, LORD willing, mankind built a tower of stone to take him straight to the sky (borrowed that last line from Ronnie James Dio – Stargazer, from the Rainbow Rising album). God confounded their language and created confusion because they got a little too big for their britches (something my mom used to say about me).

[Gen 3:23 NKJV] therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

And so they were cast out of paradise as a consequence of their sin, and to prohibit them from gaining access to the tree of life in the midst of the garden. They could have enjoyed eternal life in a perfect world; God did not prohibit them from eating of the tree of life. Instead, they chose the one thing that would separate them from God. Now they no longer had access to the fruit that would have preserved them forever. I know that one day Jesus will come again, and when He does, He will take us to heaven where we will once again partake of the tree of life. We will see this, LORD willing when we make to the end of the book!

[Gen 3:24 NKJV] So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

You will never look at a Valentines Day card again in the same way now, will you?

Prayer: LORD, thank You for sending us the very best gift we could ever have; Your Son Jesus. I praise You for Your grace and mercy to me. LORD, I thank You today for my bride. I pray that You will continue to bless her and grow her. Thank You for giving her to me. Thank You for the wonderful privilege and honor of leading her. Help me to be a good steward of my family. LORD, I lift up our friends and their newborn baby today. I ask that You would bless them with joy as they are brought closer together as a family. Protect them and keep them safe. Finally, LORD, I lift up my pastor to You and ask that You would continue to grow him in his walk with You. That through him many might come to the saving knowledge of who You are and what You have done. For those of us who already know, I pray that You will use our pastor to help us grow and live according to Your WORD. I love You LORD and I praise Your holy name. It is in that name that I pray. –Amen.

Before I go, I wanted to share a song that I wrote several years ago when I played in a band with a group of guys that were fellow believers. I wanted to hold off sharing it because I wanted to get through the creation chapters of the Genesis account. I wrote the lyrics and the music for this one after reading this very book in the Bible those years ago. While it may not be your style of music, I hope that you will appreciate the content. You may even turn off your sound…lol. Cheers.

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