June 3, 2018 – Good, Even While Sending Out
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 3:14-24 (ESV)
14 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.
15 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.”
16 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.”
17 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;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 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.”
20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 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—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 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 we read this passage with the understanding Jesus imparts, that God is our “Father”, we will recognize God’s goodness even in the midst of this tragic story.
I) Protective Exile
- vv22-23 “‘…lest he… take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever’ – therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden”
- given the change that occurred when humanity turned from God and the painful consequences, would we want life of this kind forever?
II) Humbling Covering
- v21 “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
- a temporary solution to address human vulnerability before going out into the world, but one that signals the change that has occurred
III) Restless Longing
- v24 “He drove out the man, and … he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword… to guard the way to the tree of life”
- the human story involves loss, shaping our experience (and drives) – the gospel is a greater story of loss and gain
Questions for Reflection
- What thoughts or feelings do you have around the idea of living forever? Are there any fears or concerns?
- If you could have the life you have now, in the world we now live in, forever – would you take it?
- What problems does God address throughout the Bible before making eternal life a possibility for humanity in the New Testament? How is Jesus a central piece of God’s plan for eternal life?
- What can you learn about God from His clothing Adam and Eve with animal skins before sending them out of the garden? What can you learn about humanity?
- What longings do you have, and which of them could be satisfied by what you imagine Eden to have been like? How much of your own longings can be traced to your disconnection from God?
- Jesus teaches us to pray to God as Father, and calls us to trust His goodness. If that becomes a fundamental presupposition in your life, how would your daily life change? In what ways would many of your experiences be reshaped or understood differently?
- How does each of the 3 things Jesus claims about himself in John 14 address a need in your life: the way, the truth, the life?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, we confess that life in this world is hard. In our longing for what was lost when humanity was sent out of the garden, we recognize our own personal confusion, fear, doubt, shame and regret. We seek to fulfill these longings in the things of this world, but not in you. We try to cover our shame with all manner of flimsy coverings, but we don’t humbly receive your grace, care and protection. We fail to trust your fatherly care. There are none among us who don’t need your forgiveness and care, and we thank you for the way, truth and life extended to us in Jesus Christ. We appeal to you for mercy, and pray that we would experience satisfaction and strength in the peace of Christ. Amen.