Siren of Judgment, Whispers of Grace

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Genesis 3:8-24 | October 4 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
October 4
Siren of Judgment, Whispers of Grace | Genesis 3:8-24
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

O Lord, we are debtors to mercy alone. We are, left to ourselves, sinners and rebels. We are traitors and wanderers. We are, as the old prayer book says, miserable offenders. We ask now for Your mercy, mercy that You would not be silent, but that You would speak, and mercy that we would have ears to hear. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our text this morning comes from Genesis chapter 3 as we continue our series through the first book of the Bible. Please turn in your Bibles. It’s always important to follow along as we try to move verse by verse, you want to see what I’m talking about and you want to be good Bereans and test everything against the Word of God.

Genesis chapter 3, beginning at verse 8 through the end of the chapter. This comes after the Fall, and now we will have the results, the effects, of the Fall.

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

To the woman He said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

And to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden He placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”

If the first seven verses of this chapter explained why Adam and Eve sinned, and by extension why we sin, then the rest of the chapter is about what happened after Adam and Eve sinned, and by extension what often happens after we sin.

We see here, from chapter 1 and 2 into chapter 3, the beauty and perfection of the garden becomes ugly and broken. Joy is replaced with sorrow, comfort with cursing, pleasure with pain, intimacy with expulsion. Wherever you experience those things in your life, and probably all of us have experienced at least some of those in this past week, sorrow, cursing, pain, alienation. We have these things because we live in a world that is experiencing the curse.

We have here in Genesis chapter 3 an all too familiar picture of the way things now are, the way thing were not supposed to be.

Notice first Adam and Eve’s response when they are caught in sin, verses 7 through 13. Notice their response when they are caught in sin. Now in verse 7 the first thing they see as sinners is their own nakedness. The first thing they hear as sinners is the sound of the Lord God. We read in verse 8, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Some commentators think this an ominous sound, “the cool of the day” as it’s translated here. You can look at your footnote. In the Hebrew it’s “wind” or “breeze,” and so perhaps it’s the rushing sound and breath of the Lord and they hear this and it, immediately causes them to tremble. That’s possible.

But I think that the scene, at least at verse 8, is not yet screaming with judgment. Judgment is coming. But rather we have a picture of a father seeking out His wayward children. The “cool of the day” is a good euphemistic translation, likely referring to the evening breeze at the time when the sun is setting and in the hot of the ancient near East you have a wind, the cool of the day. And the picture is of God walking, which is a sign of relational intimacy. So they hear the sound, whatever this was like. We don’t know if the Fall happened the very day after they were made or if they enjoyed some time of unbroken fellowship with God and were used to some evening walks and conversations with the Lord God.

But now at the sound of the Lord walking, which is meant to be a description, I think, of intimacy, instead of being comforted by the approaching footsteps of the Lord, now they’re afraid. They hide themselves among the trees of the garden.

Think of it. If you’re waiting for a long lost, or maybe not even lost, you’re just waiting for, say your husband to return from military service and you’re just waiting there at the airport for and you look and you say to your children, “I think I hear Daddy’s footsteps, I hear his steps,” it’s meant to be a sound of great joy and awakening and alertness, here he comes. But now the sound is not of a loved one and a reunion or of an intimacy, but fear.

Perhaps if you’re driving and you see the red and the blue lights flashing behind you and you hear those sirens and you think, “uh-oh, this day was bad and I fear it’s getting worse.”

So they hear the Lord walking in the cool of the day and they hide themselves. And in this conversation with the man and the woman, notice the Lord only asks questions. He asks four questions, perhaps trying to give them a chance to explain themselves or maybe it’s meant to be read like a courtroom drama and here is the prosecuting attorney asking them a series of questions.

Four of them: Where are you, who told you you were naked, have you eaten of the tree I commanded you not to eat, and what is this you have done. Four questions to the man and to the woman.

Now it’s important to realize God is not asking these questions because He’s in the dark and He needs to find out what really happened. No, He’s not looking for answers so much as He is inviting a response. What do you have to say for yourself? What sort of explanation can you offer?

We know that these are taken as a rhetorical question because even Adam takes it as a rhetorical question. Look at the end of verse 9: The Lord God called to the man, saying, “Where are you?” Adam doesn’t give Him some GPS coordinates where he is, rather he understands that God is prompting with this question. It’s a rhetorical question. Like a father seeing his child stumble home after curfew and there’s alcohol on his breath and he says, “Where have you been?” Well, he’s not so much looking for an answer of all the various places he has been, he’s saying, “Something has gone wrong, I know what it is and I want to hear from your mouth.”

The Lord addresses the man singularly. If you recall, last week we said that all of those “you’s,” those “you alls,” those “you’s guys,” those were plural as the serpent is addressing Eve, but yet Adam is right there. He’s speaking to both of them.

Well, here the Lord speaks directly to the man. Remember, Eve sinned first, but God, importantly, holds the man first of all accountable. Not the exclusion of the woman, He’s going to ask the woman a question as well, but the man has priority in terms of his accountability before the Lord. If you know the New Testament and your theology, you know you see this in Romans chapter 5. Why is it when Eve was the one who first sinned that Paul’s argument is that sin entered the world through one man? Through Adam. Shouldn’t his argument be through Adam and Eve? Or maybe even through Eve, ’cause she sinned first. But Adam, as the one who was meant to be a gracious leader, who was meant to have gentle, God-given authority, he was the one. He was the federal head. He was the representative of the human race, and so God speaks to him first.

The woman was deceived, but the man sinned even more wilfully. The woman is still held accountable for her sin, she is not excused, she cannot say that the devil made me do it, but she would at least have a plausible case to say she was something of a victim; she was lied to, she was deceived, she shouldn’t have entered into the conversation, or fallen for the deceit.

But Adam’s sin is even more willful, for he is standing there, meant to be the protector and the leader of his wife, and yet he takes and he eats. No excuse that the serpent deceived him. The wife ate and gave to her husband and he ate.

And so the Lord addresses these three entities in reverse order of their wickedness. We saw verses 1 through 7, it’s the serpent, then Eve, then Adam. And now God is going to speak to them, Adam, Even, and then the serpent. The man is held responsible in a unique way for this sin, and we’ll come to that when we get to his punishment later in the chapter.

We see from Adam and Eve essentially two responses when they are caught in sin, and these are the two oldest responses to sin. And I think you can check your own life and see that these may be still the two most common responses to sin, and they rhyme, in English: Shame, blame. These are the two human, visceral responses. The oldest responses to sin are these two things.

Shame. Notice they realize, in verse 7, they’re naked. They sew fig leaves together. The Lord says, “Who told you that you were naked?” You were, it’s not so much the physicality of it, we can be thankful that we were clothes, but it is as an expression and even as a larger metaphor, of their spiritual nakedness. That they lived in perfect intimacy and innocence with the Lord God and now they see themselves, their eyes are opened.

Remember, that was part of the lie and the deceit of the devil, that God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and he was right. Of course, he was deceiving. Their eyes were opened, and now they saw not an innocent world of perfection, but their own shame.

Isn’t this what you feel when you sin? There’s the objective guilt, you’ve offended God, but there’s also the shame. This is why we see in the gospels that Christ on the cross pays for not only our guilt, that objective, forensic declaration we need that we’re innocent, we’ve broken the law, but also that sense of visceral shame. Why is it that the gospel writers will go into so much detail to show that Jesus was spat upon and mocked and flogged and they twisted a crown of thorns on His head and they jeered at Him and they, passersby would come and say, “Take yourself down from the cross, some messiah you are.” And mercilessly mock Him.

Why did the gospel writers go into such detail? Because they’re showing that Jesus received what we know we deserve because of our sin. When you sin, and some of you, you may even have this this morning, with sin you have not fully dealt with, a sense that “I’ve been exposed, or I’ve been found out, or I’m dirty, I’m embarrassed, I’m unclean. Everyone knows, look at me. I need to hide.”

Now in our fallen world, there’s also misplaced shame. Sometimes we feel shame for things that were not our fault. Genuinely we were victims, we were manipulated, we were abused. But insofar as we are guilty of sin, we continue to feel this shame, which is why Scripture tells us “walk in the light as He is in the light.” That’s the first step to forgiveness, first step to healing, first step to getting on with your life, is no longer hiding in the covers. Even though you know for all the world, you feel as if no one can know this, no one can see who I am and what I’ve done, it shame.

And the other response is blame. You’ve probably seen this before. The man blames the woman, he blames God: “I only took what she gave me.” You notice how they both say that. “She gave me fruit,” verse 12, “and I ate,” verse 13, “Well, the serpent deceived me and I ate,” sort of rendering themselves passive in this story. The man blames the woman, and blames God.

Remember, when he first saw the woman, he recognized, “This is God’s good gift to me. This, at last, bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.” He’s over-awed at the sight of woman. “God, you have given me such an amazing gift and now the one who was a gift he sees a fault. “It’s you, woman, who gave me the fruit. And it’s you, God, I thought you were giving me a good gift, but you gave me this woman who led me into sin.” You can see Adam’s way of handling his sin. Maybe it’s the woman’s fault, maybe it’s your fault, God, it’s not my fault. And the woman blames the serpent.

And this still happens, doesn’t it? We blame our kids, we blame our parents, we blame our brothers and sisters, we blame stress, we blame disappointments. Almost any time when there’s some public person, a celebrity, a movie star, an athlete, a politician, sadly even often when it’s famous Christians and they give their mea culpa, it’s really not a “my fault,” it’s a recounting of all the ways that others had sinned against them or all the ways that they had been under great stress and anxiety and had been depressed and therefore sin just sort of happened. We’re always looking for others to blame. It’s just anxiety or it’s this illness.

Many of you know, this is public knowledge, that Tim Keller is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatments and I heard him say recently, “You know, people always say in cancer, you know, we’re battling cancer, we’re battling cancer.” He said, “We’re not battling cancer, we’re battling sin. Cancer is a result of the fall and we’re battling the sin and the temptation that comes into our hearts as a result of having cancer.”

Isn’t it so often the case? We describe ourselves as passive actors in the story of our own lives. Again, yes, there are true victims, people who feel shame who should not, and yet there are many occasions where even though we are sinned against, we are still sinners.

Here’s an absolutely critical truth that every Christian needs to understand: Sinners can still be sufferers, and sufferers can still be sinners. Both of those things are true. Sinners can be sufferers. This gives you some compassion, some humility, when you see people, and everything about them makes you so mad and they’ve mistreated you. Everyone, even sinners, even the worst sinners, are at some point in their lives, they’re also sufferers. It gives us some measure of compassion for them.

But the other side is true as well. Sufferers can still be sinners. In fact, we read in Hebrews that it’s in Jesus’ suffering that he faced some of the most intense temptation to sin. So you can be a sufferer and still be a sinner.

This blame game is no respecter of persons. You should not think it’s only those on the left who do it or only those on the right. It happens with Christians and with non-Christians. We see it in powerful people and in non-powerful people. Caught in sin, and instead of saying, as David, “Against you only I, O Lord, have I sinned,” they say, “I was lonely, I was tired, my wife cheated on me first, I was mistreated by the system, I was under constant attack from the media, I was wooed by his flattery, I couldn’t help myself because of the way she dressed…” and on and on and on.

When is the last time you took full responsibility for your sin? Because you haven’t stopped sinning. I haven’t stopped sinning. When is the last time you said to a spouse, to a loved one, to God, “It’s my fault. No excuses. I’m the one to blame. I did it.” Whatever extenuating circumstances, as you’ve heard said many times, other people may press your buttons but they’re still your buttons. Lord, this is my sin.

So often our response is just the same as Adam and Eve: Shame, then blame.

Notice their response. Here’s the second thing I want you to notice, verses 14 through 19. Note the Lord’s response. We’ve seen their response to their sin, notice the Lord’s response to their sin. He gives three speeches: To the serpent, to the woman, to the man.

So, you see first, he gives a speech to the serpent. Notice there’s no dialogue with the serpent. That was one of Eve’s mistakes. When the Satan comes and tempts you, you don’t have a conversation with him. He’s already won. The Lord is not looking to have a conversation with the devil. This one, the serpent, the crafty one, the Hebrew word was “arum,” now he is going to be the cursed one, “arur.”

And there are three aspects of the curse: Crawling on his belly, eating of the dust, crushed by the seed of the woman.

We don’t know what the snakes were like and did they have feet? Were they up on their little tails? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t have an interest in telling us. But now you know every time you see a snake in the grass, and believe me we were told when we moved here there are more venomous snakes in North Carolina than anywhere else, we got the message, we were very afraid. We pictured it like, you know, Raiders of the Lost Ark, just the ground just constantly, snakes everywhere. We’ve seen them. We’ve killed some. When you see a snake slithering on the ground, it’s a reminder of the curse. Eating of the dust. We still have that expression, “another one bites the dust.” To eat the dust is an expression of total defeat. The serpent is cursed.

Notice only the serpent and the ground are cursed. You see that in verse 17, “cursed is the ground because of you.” Sometimes we speak too casually of man and woman being curse. Actually they’re never cursed. They experience the effects of the curse and sin has its own curse, but it’s very telling that the Lord God says, “The ground is cursed and cursed is the snake,” but He never uses that language, “Cursed are you” to the man and to the woman. No, no, blessings still remains. It isn’t until murder, in chapter 4, a sin against the image of God, that Cain will receive the divine curse. Cursed are you, the serpent, and we’ll come back to verse 15 at the end.

Here’s the second speech, to the woman. Now listen, I did not plan this. I did not know it was, the baby was due this week, I did not plan that after the delivery of Susannah Lynn, thank you for many texts and comments and prayers, everyone is doing well, that we would come to verse 16: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing, in pain you shall bring forth children.” I told my wife the sermon was mainly going to be just illustrations from this past week and stories and she in horror said “No!” I said, “No, I’m just kidding.” No stories from this past week.

But it is true, that’s all I’ll say. I’ve tried to say to my wife, “Imagine the pain we as husbands feel.” [laughter] Right, it doesn’t go well. To watch, to stand there and not be able to do anything, you’ll never know how hard that is for us. [laughter] She did say, as we were going, “I wish you could just have had one of them.” [laughter]

So, yes, it is the expression of the curse for the woman is that there is pain in childbearing. Now, it is not simply the act of contractions and pushing out a child, but what is meant here, and you can see this even more clearly in some of the Hebrew words that are used, is the whole experience of bringing forth children. What is envisioned is the whole pregnancy and, I think even beyond that, the experience of raising children: “In pain you shall bring forth children.” The experience of having children and raising children, one of God’s greatest gifts and blessings, is going to be from start to finish fraught with pain. That’s part of the curse.

And then you see the second half of verse 16. This is a highly debated sentence: “Your desire shall be,” and here’s how the ESV translates it, the newest version, “you shall be contrary to your husband but he shall rule over you.”

Part of what’s difficult about this verse are these words “desire” and “rule,” which do not have to be bad words. To desire your husband could be a good thing, a romantic desire. Rule is not always a bad thing. We’ve already seen from chapter 2 the sense in which the man is given a certain kind of authority in this marital relationship. He’s the one who gives the name to his wife. She is to be a helper to him. So “desire” and “rule” are not necessarily bad, but what seems to be in view in verse 16 is a usurping kind of desire and a harsh rule. That’s why the ESV says “your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” So the fact that the husband is the head of the wife, as we see clearly in the New Testament, is before the Fall. But insofar as a husband rules harshly over his wife, it is an expression of the Fall.

The key to interpreting verse 16 is found in the next chapter. Turn the page quickly. Verse 7, chapter 4, verse 7. This is with Cain after his sin, and it reads: If you do well, will you not be accepted, and if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. And then here it’s almost the exact same Hebrew sentence: Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it. You can see even in English that’s almost the same sentence as we have in chapter 3, verse 16. So one can help interpret the other. That Cain, the Lord is saying, that this sin is desiring to have mastery over you. And in the same way the woman experiencing the curse of the Fall desires to have mastery over her husband, but the husband will rule over her. And insofar as the husband is affected by the Fall, that rule, which was meant to be gentle, gracious, loving leadership, becomes some kind of harsh domineering.

Notice the woman experiences the fallenness of the world in her primary sphere of responsibility. What did we see in chapter 2 in the garden in the perfect scenario in Eden were the two spheres of her responsibility? Not to the exclusion of everything else, but two primary. She was to be a helper to her husband, and together with her husband they were to be fruitful and multiply. She was to be a helper to her husband and then a mother in bearing forth children. And so it’s no conscience that those two primary spheres of her responsibility are those that are singled out as being affected by the Fall.

Now, of course, we try to mitigate the effects of the Fall. It is not bad to take something so that childbirth is less painful. Nor is it wrong that husband and wife would try to love each other well so that the effects of the Fall are lessened. This is simply indicating the normal course of affairs. Not that everyone gets married, not that everyone who is married is able to have children. But Genesis 3 is speaking to what they would have seen as the normal course of affairs, that a woman would get married and a woman would have children. And both of those spheres of responsibility are affected by the Fall.

One commentator puts it this way: The woman at her worst would be nemesis to the man, and the man at his worst would dominate the woman. Which is why, we don’t have enough time to flesh this out, the commands in Ephesians chapter 5 are directed to the husband and the wife at their area of fallenness. What is the wife’s sinful temptation, as a response to the Fall, relative to her husband? It’s to ¬¬¬¬___ his authority, it’s a want to usurp his God-given leadership, which is why the singular command in Ephesians 5 to the woman is to respect your husband.

And what is the man’s temptation, given to fallenness? It’s that he would be harsh, he would be domineering over his wife, and so his singular command in Ephesians chapter 5 is love, love your wife, sacrifice for your wife as Christ did for the church.

We see then the third speech to the man. The sentence, the pronouncement on the man, is the longest of the three. Part of his sin is specifically in listening to his wife, verse 17. Now obviously it’s not that listening to a wife is wrong, it’s usually a good idea. But here he listened to his wife which led him into sin. It’s also singled out at the beginning of verse 17, because it represents an abdication of his God-given responsibility, to be leader and protector of his home. He obeyed the voice of his wife instead of obeying the voice of God.

And so the punishment fits the crime. He ate the fruit and now he will eat with great pain, and toil. Eating is mentioned five times in these three verses, 17, 18, and 19. He will be punished for eating by being punished by what he eats. No longer will getting food be a simple task, but it will require toil by the sweat of his brow. And notice, just as the woman’s fallenness affected her primary sphere of responsibility in Genesis 2, so the man’s fallenness affects his primary sphere of responsibility, which was the ground. He was given to till and cultivate the ground, and now that work will be a chore.

And even though getting food is for most of us now a relatively simple task, to go the store and swipe a card, all of us who work, whether it’s with the ground or with our hands or with our mind or with words or with figures and numbers, experience that work is joyful and yet experiences the curse. Just as the man now would have the ground not to be first of all his servant but at times to be his enemy. And the man would go from dust to dust, adam to adamah, the ground. Each one is condemned to a permanent disadvantage in life.

As we sing at Christmastime, far as the curse is found, the whole earth is subjected to futility.

And then notice quickly, the most devastating consequence for their sin, in verses 20 through 24, is banishment. Even a stronger word. He drove him out, verse 24, from the garden. Expelled. The garden had been infested with sin. And notice it’s not the garden that gets uprooted; it’s Adam and Eve that get expelled. It’s almost as if God is saying through this symbolism, “I do not remove My paradise, I do not destroy My goodness, I do not uproot My garden, I uproot you. Because of your rebellion, you are punished and banished from My paradise.”

Again we see this imagery, this connection with the temple or the tabernacle, just like the cherubim guarded the east side of the garden, so the Levites guarded the east entrance into the tent of meeting. The garden is a kind of Holy of Holies and they’re not allowed in their sin to enter into it. This was the first banishment, God’s people removed from paradise. But it was also a type of the many banishments in Scripture that occur as a result of sin.

You may not have put this all together. Think of all the times in the Bible where the punishment for sin is some sort of expulsion. Angels banished from heaven after their rebellion, Cain will be banished from the land, the nations are banished and scattered after their sin at the tower of Babel, unclean persons will have to go outside the camp. In the church, excommunication is putting the unrepentant sinner outside the church. The Israelites, after generations of sin and rebellion, were kicked out of the Promised Land, banished, expelled to Babylon. Final judgment is where the wicked are banished to outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And there’s a play on words here. The man was supposed to keep the garden, we read that in chapter 2 verse 15, and now the very same Hebrew word is used in chapter 3:24: As there is a flaming sword turned every way to guard, to keep the man from the tree of life. The man who was given to keep the garden is now kept out of the very garden that was given as a gift to him.

You can see here in this punishment a certain theology of eating. Think about it. Chapter 1 and 2, everything is given for food except one tree. They eat of that tree and now they will eat by the sweat of their brow. As the Mosaic law will unfold later in the Pentateuch, they will have to distinguish between eating some animals but not others. So it’s reinforcing this lesson from the garden. There’s a good eating and there’s a bad eating.

And then God’s people ultimately will be saved by eating, by eating the flesh and blood of a crucified Lord. And the new heavens and the new earth will be likened unto what? A great feast. What we ruined by eating we will one day celebrate with eating. You could draw up a whole theology of eating.

You could also draw up a whole theology of trees. Ever thought about the trees? In chapters 1 and 2, we read about these fruit trees, which are a sign of God’s bountiful provision. The tree is a place of generosity and bounty from God, but then the tree becomes the place where sin enters the world.

And then what did we read at the beginning of this section? The trees then become the place where they hide once their sin is exposed. And then verse 24, they are barred from the tree of life.

And you could connect the dots even farther. Deuteronomy 21: Cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree. The tree is the place of punishment and death, echoes of the sin entering the world through the tree in the garden, and yet we also know the tree will be the place where mankind receives the gift of life and in the new heavens and the new earth the leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations.

So in the midst of this chapter, where we have echoes of judgment, there are also whispers of grace.

Look at three of them, as we close. And this will lead us directly to the table.

Notice first of all life goes on. The woman, yes, there will be pain, but she will have children. The human race will continue. And though we don’t have any explicit indication of Adam repenting of his sin, I do think it is an act of Adam’s faith, in verse 20, that he calls his wife Eve. He has already called her esha because she was taken out of esh, and now he calls her Eve because she was the mother of all living. It’s an act of faith. Human life will go on, I’ll name you Eve because you will have a child.

We see most plainly whispers of grace in verse 15. Sometimes called the first evangel, the first expression of the gospel: I will put enmity between you and the woman. There will be war between the serpent and the woman, between all those who come from the serpent. Think of Jesus in John chapter 8, saying that your father is the father of lies; you’re offspring of the devil. The devil and all who follow him will be at war with the woman and her chosen seed, her offspring. So we do not battle against flesh and blood; our battle is ultimately not even biological, but spiritual. There will come one from the woman, a promised seed, a promised child, a promised snake crusher, and through her seed Eve will outlast her adversary. No, hear there is a loud whisper of grace to come. The serpent will not have the last word.

And then notice verse 21. We have not only the promise of a snake crusher, but we have the provision of a sin covering. In the Sabbath, day 7, God rested from all that He had made. So you might think He’s not making it, He’s done making things. Well, now we have the same word for “made.” He rested from all that He had made, and what, what prompts Him now to make something? We read that He made for Adam and for his wife garments. In other words, the Creator will also be the Savior.

See, they believed, as so many of us do, wrongly, that sin could be covered by grasping at the first thing within their reach. Fig leaves, that’ll do, sew those together. But no. What God is teaching them and teaching us: No, Adam and Eve, it will only be by pain and by blood that your sin will be covered. Whether it was the first official sacrifice, it certainly entailed the first animal death as God made skins from some animal in the garden to cover them. Not just to shroud their nakedness, but so often in the Old Testament clothing indicates a change of status. You receive a wedding garment, you are now a priest, you receive clothing to cover you and indicate your change in status, and so God provides the covering. No, fig leaves will not do. Only by pain and only by blood, but I will make a covering for your sin.

Which is why Paul can say that we are more than conquerors, that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. For God has made a way. Not with an animal ultimately, but with the pain and the blood of His only begotten Son.

Let’s pray. Father in heaven, as we come now to the table, we pray that You would prepare us to feast upon the One whose body and blood have been given for us, to eat the meal that gives life, to come to the tree not of cursing, but for us the tree of salvation. Nourish us, strengthen us, heal us, bless us, we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.