God Confronts Sin
Lesson: Genesis 3.8-17, 20-24 Read: Genesis 3.1-24
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
Genesis 3.6-7 (NRSV)
The story of Adam, Eve and the serpent is well known. The man and the woman did not trust God’s words. Instead, they were swayed by the serpent’s words and ate the fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. This lesson focuses on God’s response to their tragic fall.
Humanity’s fall seems to be a simple tale of crime and punishment (Genesis 3). We are prone to interpret Adam and Eve’s actions with words like failure, disappointment and disobedience. But consider this: God’s mercy is evident throughout this passage. First, after eating from the tree, the man and the woman became aware and ashamed of their nakedness and attempted to hide from God. (It is futile to think they could hide themselves or their thoughts from God). We can imagine that God was aware, yet God called to them (Where are you, v. 9) and questioned them (Have you eaten from the tree, v. 11). God knew the answers to those questions; God was not seeking answers, but searching out their attitude. Was there regret in their response? Shame? Deception? The Lord would have been justified to render judgment immediately, but instead, God engaged in conversation. That was mercy. Second, and most profoundly, God chose to punish rather than destroy. The penalty for eating of the tree was said to be death (2.17; 3.3). Yet God chose not to cut them off but to continue his relationship with Adam and Eve. Men will toil, women will give birth in pain, and they will be cast out of the Garden, but God will still be their God and they will be his children.
There are severe consequences for sin but there is also mercy. And mercy is a sign of God’s love. Love is the reason for the creation. Love is the reason that God always confronts sin.
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence