Sunday, 29 May 2011
Certainly, God has hell reserved for those who deserve it. This can be discussed elsewhere. However, my focus here is on the kindness of God for those who do not deserve it.
The story of Genesis chapter 3 shows us God's mercy and kindness. The story happens at the dawn of the creation of the first couple Adam and Eve. Some argue the first couple sins on the first day they are created for the lack of passage of time between the second and third chapter of Genesis. The first couple has disobeyed God and eats from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a unique tree in the Garden of Eden among many other life-sustaining fruit-bearing trees there. There is no need to eat fruit from the tree. After disobeying God, they go into hiding as if that is really possible. Here is the section (Genesis 3:9-19, ESV) where God is looking for the sinners.
9 But the LORD God called to [Adam] and said to him, "Where are you?"
10 And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."
11 [God] said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."
13a Then the LORD God said to [Eve], "What is this that you have done?"
13b The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
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 for your husband, and 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."
I have the following observations here.
- While we often isolate and ostracize those sin against us, God seeks the sinners. (Genesis 3:8)
- We sin while God continues to provide and care for us, just like the setting of Genesis 3. Adam and Eve lived in abundance and yet they disobeyed.
- Adam and Eve, for the sake of one fruit of one tree, sinned against the One who has given them everything. (Genesis 2:16-17)
- Adam blamed God and his wife for his sin. He disowned his sin, his wife, and his God. (Genesis 3:12)
- Eve blamed the serpent just like her husband shifted blames. (Genesis 3:13b)
- When the couple shifted blames, God did not even contradict their pathetic excuses. He could have given them the "truth." (Genesis 3:9,11,13a)
- God did not manipulate the sinners with rage.
- God promises salvation (v.15) before curses are declared.
- God could have killed them (Genesis 2:17), but He still let them live 900+ years. That means God continue to sustain them for such a long time.