Celebrating Our Sending God
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 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. 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.” 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.” 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; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 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.” Genesis 3:12-19
Advent is a season all about the mission of God to save the world. He, of course, did this through Jesus, our Savior. From the very start and throughout Scripture we find the sending nature of God. In fact, over the next few weeks, these Advent Devotions will look at various biblical figures, and you will see, again and again, God has always sent His people into the world because He loves the world. Jesus told us, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” Advent reminds us of the intense love God has for the whole world! We will begin with Adam and Eve.
No doubt you are familiar with the story. God created Adam and Eve, placed them in the garden with but one restriction. God entrusted them with everything, but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” Of course, we know, with a bit of craftiness on the part of the serpent, Adam and Eve were convinced to eat the forbidden fruit. Paradise was lost. The relationship was broken. It’s a very relatable story. In our own lives it may be differing “forbidden fruit,” but we succumb to sin daily and break our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
In our text God addresses Adam and Eve’s fall into sin very differently than we might expect. Although there were consequences for their sin, and they lost their privilege to the Garden of Eden, instead of destroying them and creating more faithful creatures—effectively a “do-over”—God sends Adam and Eve into the world with the promise of a hope and a future. These words are often called the first Gospel: “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.” From the very start, God sent His prized creatures into the world to proclaim His mercy and grace, which you and I know in the Chosen One, Jesus, the Christ!
You and I are not so different from Adam and Eve really. We fail God every bit as much as they did, and God extends to us the same promise of mercy and grace. Advent directs us to the incarnate answer to our proclivity toward sin as we once again anticipate the arrival of the Christ-child. And having received God’s unfathomable forgiveness, we, too, are sent into the world, to proclaim the glorious good news of a Savior. Even in the midst of the trials and tribulations we inherited from our forbearers, Adam and Eve, we can be confident that God has not only chosen us, but sent us to proclaim Jesus! This is God’s heart for the world beating through you.
Lord Jesus, You came so that I might have abundant life. May Your passion for people fill me as we prepare our hearts and homes to once again celebrate God’s sending heart which brought You into the world, and remembering our blessing, may we recognize that we are now sent in Jesus’ name. Amen.