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“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.”
We don’t have to go any further than three chapters into the book of Genesis before sin enters the picture. It is amazing how fast things progressed in that direction once the serpent came into the Garden. It didn’t take much to tempt them when we pause and realize that it was just a veiled question acted upon that did them in.
Have you ever thought about what should have happened when God made His presence known in the Garden of Eden following their disobedience? Pure justice would have meant the immediate destruction of both Adam and Eve, and perhaps the complete banishment of the Devil from existence. As to the latter, this poses the truth that God does not annihilate willful creatures from existence, but rather designates them for eternal ends (Matt. 25:41). Why He allows Satan to linger is not an easy answer, but the fact that He does speaks far more to the purposes of God than the power of Satan. All creations of God (at least angels, demons and humans) have a destination, which also speaks into what God thinks of what He creates. Creation reflects upon Creator and never surprises God even in the cases of such great deviance. The Devil himself exists only within the permission and plans of God.
Regarding Adam and Eve, what we approach in Genesis 3 is not only a God who upholds His word, but also a God who shows mercy. Perhaps you have or have not thought of this, but God never told the first couple that there would be mercy before they chose to sin; He only told them that there would be consequences should they choose to disobey (Gen. 2:17). If our Gospel were only a message of consequence, it would be a woeful, hopeless message that no one would want to touch upon or bring up or find identity in. There are some in this world who only preach such a terrible lot, but that is not the Gospel and they are never a popular sort. Far more common are the groups claiming we either do not need a Savior or that we are all morally acceptable in the sight of God, which is also quite untrue.
Man, when left to himself, is hopeless and incapable of changing himself to meet the necessary requirements to be pleasing in the sight of God, righteous and acceptable to Him. When the first two humans sinned in the Garden, there was no immediate message of hope, no promise of deliverance, no mediator of mention. There was a serpent who was hellbent (literally) on ruining the relationship of man and God, a fallen angel rubbing his hands in delight (so to say) at observing a couple who had fallen from their innocence. All these two could do was hide, seek covering of their own device, and hope that somehow God might not catch on.
How could God not catch on, though? And how could anyone hide from the eyes of Him who sees all? And how could some leaves knitted together ever provide the covering for the guilt and shame boiling within? For all that the first couple did to cover themselves, their newfound consciences were screaming at them with full volume. Man, when left to himself, is hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. No one on this planet can conjure up a suitable fix for the problem of sin, for it is beyond us. The broken cannot fix their own brokenness.
So there they were, a serpent looking on at his own demented form of success, two people hiding in torment from the guilt within, God nowhere in sight but soon…the sound of His steps. Oh how each step must have shook within them, the couple waiting for the impending judgment, the end of their lives, something only spoken of in promise but not yet understood in experience. Death surely sounded bad, but it had not yet been observed. Then came the voice of God Himself, asking where they were, and then their blameful response, and then His further probing. Then came the consequences, brought not by a God who was wrong to enact them, but by those who chose to ignore them as though God would not follow through. It would have been wrong for Him not to follow through, you know, for what good is it to have a God who speaks and commands but does not uphold that which He promises? God does not waste His words. We can be both thankful for this and properly fearful of this, for what God says will and must come to pass.
Nevertheless, within the consequences we hear words of hope, and the greatest hope spoken is that of Genesis 3:15: the promise of Eve’s Seed coming forth and though bruised in heel by the bite of that contemptuous serpent, He would deliver mankind by the crushing of the serpent under His foot. The power would exchange, the serpent no longer holding mankind in some kind of deadly grip as the Son of God would come into the world and crush Him, breaking out the fangs and rendering the bite of no lasting effect. A venomous serpent lacking the teeth to inflict the pain, a head crushed under the weight of power, is a writhing mess causing unease to the onlookers. The Devil does continue to work, but he knows his time is limited, and he knows that the Gospel is greater than all he can muster. He does not want you or I to be cognizant of this truth, but it is true nonetheless. He can only look on with disdain when the hand of God is at work, for He cannot undo that which God does.
Dying upon the cross, the Son of Man would be laid in a tomb for three days, but to the dismay of the Devil and his fallen angels, as well as all those who have chosen to remain enemies of the Lord, up from the grave He would rise in victory. He is the promised Seed, the one spoken of in Genesis 3:15, and He is the reason we can celebrate times such as Christmas in hope. It isn’t a hope of vanity, but a hope of depth and substance, the power to change and not merely alter but be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. It isn’t just a hope of change for a temporal time upon this planet, but a deep soul-grabbing truth that death is only a passage into a glorious eternity with the Lord of Lords, the pains and disappointments of this life left in the rearview mirror of such a spectacular future.
Genesis 3 could have gone many different directions, and if it were only justice, it would have been only a message of defeat and despair. Very likely, we would not be here to even contemplate such a messagenews, for it could have all ended for humanity that very day recorded in Genesis. It didn’t, because God had determined to show mercy and grace in the face of the hopeless state of people when left to themselves.
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2:22-24)
Christ is the Hero of our story; He is the greatest cause for celebration every day of the year, but oh how quickly the celebration is lost when we forget our fallen origins. How quickly we forget when the sin that still permeates the fibers of our existence somehow is not recognized as the incredible problem that it is. How soon the hope flees when the destiny we rightly deserve is not on the horizon of our mind’s eyes, but rather the passing pleasures or pains of a life that is all too soon brought to an end.
As we approach that time where we remember the Lord’s birth, we ought never divorce from our thoughts the necessity of His death and subsequent resurrection. We ought not forget the incredible price paid on God’s behalf to show us the grace and mercy we so often toss around like careless children playing with fine China. In the face of times like now, it is important to remember that the the fears of many people are in losing lives in a fallen world full of its disappointments when gaining a future far greater than this, as a person inconceivably better than we currently are, sits openly on the table for the taking. Praise the Lord for the Gospel message. Praise the Lord for the freedom to worship Him, a freedom that cannot be taken away by any form of oppression or despair. Praise the Lord for Christmas and what it means to welcome a Savior we don’t deserve into a world He made and was always better than. Praise God for a Seed that came and, though bruised, crushed the head of Satan and delivered us from the power of sin and death. We have all reason to rejoice.
1 Chronicles 16:34
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
Prayer from 3 John 2:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
God be with you my friends!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.