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The first five books of the Old Testament constitute God’s book of instructions for his redeemed people. It reveals the character of God and his good design for life. It bears witness to the beginning of his work of redemption. It equips the believer to live in God’s world, God’s way, as God’s image for God’s glory. What sin and death have broken, God’s people can rebuild by keeping to his instructions by the power of his presence with us.
Hi everyone. And welcome to Training for a Life Redeemed. I am Dan and each week I will be sitting down with my dad, David Jackson (I told you he didn’t like being called doctor) to examine various sections of the Bible. And this week we’re looking at Genesis 3,:1 to 21, which is bad news and good news.
Dad, this passage starts by introducing a snake or serpent. What do we know about him? You know, what are his goals?
We know nothing about him when we’re introduced to him. This snake just suddenly appears. We’re told he’s smart and crafty. It’s not going to be till we get to the very end of the Bible in Revelation 12, that we’re going to be told that this is Satan and it’s Satan appearing in the form of the lowest living creature in God’s chain of command. So he comes in as a snake and he’s there really to get stuck into God’s creation and destroy it. So he’s going to destroy it by getting God’s people to tell God to go jump in a lake. And he’s assuming that’ll bring down God’s judgment and that’ll be the end of it.
Okay. So what’s with the huge punishment in this story for just eating one piece of fruit? When we talked previously in last episode about the two different trees that are there, but what’s so tempting about this fruit, what, why is this such a big thing to do, to eat one piece of fruit from a tree?
Yeah. Well, people fill in the answer to that question with their imagination. It’s a magic piece of fruit and magically somehow does something supernatural. What’s really at stake is they disobeyed God. Satan is very subtle in what he says to the woman. He exaggerates, she exaggerates. And then eventually third time round, he’ll come back with a flat denial, but the sales pitch is, God’s holding out on you. You’ve got every blessing in the world, but there’s one he didn’t give you, because he doesn’t want you to be like God, and if you have this one, you’ll be cleverer. So that’s the big deal. I want to be like, God, I don’t want to be under. I want to be equal.
All right. And then once they eat the fruit, the first thing it talks to us about is this, you know, their eyes are opened and they suddenly realise they’re naked. Didn’t they know they were naked?
Yeah. They knew they were naked, but naked wasn’t a concept. It was the norm. , the thing that’s different is shame and shame comes from being damaged. So when we look at this naked business, it’s, it’s not just, it’s not about sex. It’s not about being erotic and shy. it’s about really, it comes down to it’s about the toilet. God created a beautiful man and a woman and everything about them was beautiful. And now suddenly they’ve decided to go with evil or rottenness. And if you go with evil or rottenness, Jesus will tell you everything that comes out of you is disgusting. So one of the little exercises I used to play with with kids at school was to (don’t do this with your children. You’d do it once. You’ll regret it.) I said to the class, all right, make a list on the whiteboard of all the stuff that comes out of your body, starting with your head.
And so lots of giggling. And we had, , everything from dandruff to snot, to vomit, to dribble, to tears, ear wax. And we gradually worked our way down. When we got below the belly button, life got very colourful and that’s what’s going on here. Suddenly everything that’s coming out of these people is gross and that’s embarrassing. Their body has actually physically changed. I like to use the language, “The image of God has been vandalised.” And anybody knows if you’ve got a scar or any damage, you’d cover it. It’s embarrassing and that’s what’s happening here,
But God also told them that the punishment for eating from the tree is that they will surely die on the day they eat of it. You will surely die. So God comes and busts them. Why doesn’t he just kill them?
Because death doesn’t mean you cease to exist. Death isn’t annihilation. There are lots of people in the world who will tell you that we’re just like the plants and the animals who, you’re there one minute, and you’re not, you don’t exist the next, but God created us, to live forever. That was the design and death is actually separation. And if you think about it, separation is a process. So one of the things I like to do is to pick a flower, and I used to put that up on the board, and bull-clip it to the board. If you look at the flower, when you pick it, it looks exactly the same, as it was before you picked it, but you come back tomorrow and the day after and a week later, and the whole thing’s just falling apart and that’s what’s happening to these guys. They are falling apart and that’s a process and it’s not just their bodies. Because they’re separated from God, the source of life, everything is now falling apart, their bodies, relationships, , their control over the environment. It’s all just falling to bits. That’s what death does.
All right. Now God’s curse was that they would die. But then in verses 20 and 21, he actually, he kills something else. So that doesn’t tell us what kind of animal it is, but some kind of animal dies so that God can clothe them with their skin. Why, why does the animal have to cop it?
Yeah. If God let things run, these people would fall apart and go back to dust and everything around them would do the same, everything over which they had dominion would fall apart and go to dust too, because they’d damage it they’d destroy it. So you’re not going to be able to, and if the penalty is death and you’re dead, how do you get saved? It’s too late. So God’s plan of salvation is amazing. He puts some body else in our place to die instead of us. And to teach us that lesson, it’s an object lesson. He uses an animal. So if we go back to the beginning of all of these announcements of punishment, he gives us some good news. And if you put Genesis 3:15 with Genesis 3:21, we start to see how it makes sense. See, what do you want to go back to Genesis to, the curses and the blessings and things that are going on back here?
Yeah, let’s do that. Okay. God nails the snake first and he tells the snake that there’s no rescue for him. And but before he punishes the woman, he gives us the good news. So there’s going to be consequences. Life is going to be tough, but he’s going to eventually bring his people back onto his side. So when the man said no to God and ate the fruit, he became God’s enemy. At that point, God and the man are separated. The relationship’s dead, but God’s promising that he’s going to send somebody who’s going to bring us back on his side to do that. He speaks first to the woman, then to the man. And before he tells the woman what the problem, what the punishment is, he tells her that he’s going to save. So she, the snake, is going down. The snake has to be killed.
It’s going to be one of her children that does that. A male child. There’s no mention of any involvement from the man. You inherit the damage through the male line. So salvation is only going to come through the woman and through the woman she’s going to have a son and that son’s going to kill the snake and the snake’s going to strike him in the process. Now, if you’re, if you’re snake bit you’re dead. So you have this scene in Genesis 3:15, where her offspring is going to be killed snake bit. The snake’s going to get crushed by that offspring. And the end result will be the man and the woman will be, the enmity between God and man, and woman will be over. So that’s our promise of salvation.
Can you just tell me what’s enmity mean?
It’s the line that separates enemies. So if you’re an enemy of God, you’re on one side of the line and God’s on the other. So if you think of a chain of command that goes, God, man, woman, beasts of the field, the man, and the woman rule the beast to the field, God rules, the man and the woman. And then within the marriage, the man is the head of his wife. Satan starts at the bottom with the beast, gets the woman on his side. She gets the man on their side and that separates them from God, God turns around and nails the snake and then promises to move the line between the snake and the woman so that everybody on God’s side, the man and the woman, are back with God, and at war with the snake, he’s left to be on the other side, on his own. So he’s moving the enmity from between God and the man and putting it to be between the woman and the snake.
Yeah. And I guess, so then if they are coming back on to God’s side, then they’ve seen their shame kind of needs to be covered so that’s why God’s going to kill the animal and then cover, their nakedness,
He’s teaching the people. This is what it’s going to cost to get you people back on side, somebody has to die, so he kills an animal, skins the animal, and they put that skin over around their waist, like a lap lap, and that covers the shame of their genitals and buttocks. But meanwhile, they’re looking at what it costs to do that.
Okay. So how does this passage train us today for a life redeemed?
Tells us he was, he was how God created life and designed it to work and how beautiful it was here is what happened that stuffed it up and gave us the mess we’ve got today, with lives and people going down the toilet, the world getting trashed, you know, all the, all the horrible stuff that we see, this explains what’s going on. This is not what we see in the world today is not natural. It’s not, you know, survival of the fittest. It’s not the highest point of evolution. It’s the result of people telling God to go jump in a lake and God has given us a way back. He’s shown us in this chapter that he is committed to give us back the life we threw away and that’s the gospel. That’s the good news. And he nails it down to one man, born of a woman who is going to come into the world without sin and die in our place to give us that life back right at the beginning, before he curses any human being, God makes the promise that he will save us. And that’s how we get a life redeemed.
Thanks everyone for listening. You can get the show notes and a copy of the introduction to David’s our mini series at trainingforliferedeem.com/ep4 to leave us a comment or question you want answered there as well, so that we can get to providing you more of what you want. And if you enjoyed today, please take a moment and leave us a review. Make sure you also subscribe to the podcast and make sure you tune in next week. When we look at how everything fell apart from here.