Friday, January 21, 2011

Genesis 3:21-24

Happy Friday, all!

We come to the end of Genesis 3, and the end of Paradise on Earth. After pronouncing the consequences for Adam and Eve, God now makes provision for them. Adam and Eve had attempted to cover themselves with fig leaves. Have you ever seen or felt fig leaves? Sure, they're big, so they could definitely work to cover them, but they are sticky and scratchy!!! Anything we try to do in our own strength is just about as ill-fitted to cover over our sins and redeem us in God's eyes. We cannot make God love us more by praying more, worshiping more, reading the Bible more, or by doing good deeds for others. God's love for us is perfect and constant and is not affected by what we do. His love is dependent upon His character, not ours.

As Jon Courson points out in his commentary here, you would expect God to dress them down for their behavior. But, instead, He dresses them up! God provides the blood sacrifice, and dresses Adam in Eve in the skins of the sacrificed animal to replace their silly fig leaves. In grace, God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life, which would have caused them to live eternally in their fallen condition. Verse 24 says that God "drove" them out of the garden. You can imagine they did not want to go! I wonder if they begged to stay and promised to be "good" if He'd just let them have another chance... But God knew He had to protect them from themselves, so out they went, and cherubim and a flaming sword were placed to "guard the way back to the tree of life." Now there would be no way back to God unless God provided it. The good news is that He did!

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) He is the ONLY way back to the Father. Peter told the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:4, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Jesus also told us that the way would be narrow and few would find it: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matt 7:13-14) There aren't "many roads" that lead to Heaven. There ARE many roads offered - and all but one lead to the same place: eternal destruction. The narrow road - that FEW will find - is through Jesus. While the way to the Tree of Life was blocked - the Bread of Life opened that way to the Father back up for us when He died for us.

People accuse Christians of being narrow. Guilty! But we did not make this stuff up! Jesus said it was narrow. We're stuck with what He said - and, Hallelujah, we're blessed by what He provided.

So, what's the lesson? Quit striving! It amazes me how quick I was to receive grace when I was first saved, but then how I keep trying to live by my own strength and abilities!!! How futile! It is just striving! It is time to rest, to be still and know that HE is God, not me. Time to be led by the still waters. Time to give Him my burdens - to cast my cares on Him, because He loves me. (I Peter 5:7)

Thank you, God, for your incredible, unmerited provision of the Way!

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