One day long ago, there was a beautiful garden. A grounds keeper was placed there. He was to take care of the animals and plants. He was allowed to enjoy the garden, and eat of any tree that brought forth fruit, any tree except for the tree in the middle of the garden. Sound familiar?
If you've been in church, I'm sure you have heard how Adam and Eve were allowed to enjoy the garden. They were allowed to eat of the fruit in the garden, except for the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If they ate from that tree, they would die. It was the only rule, yet one day while out in the garden, Eve was tempted. She fell for the lie that God was holding out on her and Adam. How their life could be better.
We fall for the same lies don't we, a lie that causes us to become jealous of what others have. Spending time plotting how we can fill up our lives with more toys, more money, and more attention from other people.
Well when she heard this lie she immediately started to doubt the goodness of God and she saw that the fruit would be good to eat, so she took some. She then shared the fruit with Adam. They didn't die as God had said, but they quickly were introduced to a new emotion. Shame! Shame for the fact that they were unclothed, shame for what they had done. So when they heard God visiting them they hid in their shame.
Something we as humans are known to do. We realize what we have done and feel shame, instead of going to God the one who can make us whole again, we hide.
God gets right down to the bottom of their shame, and he hands out their consequences. To each his own consequences that would continue down the ancestral line. The man would no longer be provided for when it came to food but would forever have to work for his food.The serpent would slither on his belly, he would forever deal with a war between him and the women.
The women would have pain in childbirth, but one of her offspring would bruise the head of the serpent. That offspring would be Jesus, and he would come to help heal us from our shame.
These consequences are something we still live with today, but God showed grace and mercy. First off Adam and Eve should have died immediately, but instead God allowed them to continue to live. He took care of them in some interesting ways.
He exiled them from the garden... but he gave them clothing, a way to cover their shame He also gave them an out for their temptation. He gave them an exit from being tempted to eat of fruit they shouldn't have, especially the tree of life. This is grace, why? Because this was God's way of not making us live in our sin and shame forever. If they would have eaten of the fruit of life they would have forever lived in their consequences and their mistakes, forever living in shame.
Do you remember that offspring I told you about, you know Jesus. Well he came to take away our pain, suffering and accept our consequences of death.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced
he was crushed
was on him,
and by his wounds
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
has laid on him
of us all.
Praise God we don't have to carry our sin and shame until we die, Jesus came to heal us from our sin and shame. He took it all with him on the cross.
Why not spend some time today thanking God that he sent Jesus to show us love, by standing in our place. Join in the song of the forgiven, because Jesus saves.