Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, a utopia, the
ideal of all places. Everything was perfect and beautiful. The words fear,
guilt, shame, sorrow, pain, sickness, death or any other negative emotion or
experience was a complete unknown. What they had was every physical comfort
that could be imagined, and above all, they were in total fellowship and
communion with God.
This divine relationship with their Creator came
crashing down around them when Satan entered their world and they begin
listening to and believing him. When sin entered their perfect world, nothing
was ever the same! After Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, God
called to Adam and said, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). If Adam had been forthright
in his answer, he would have said, “In sin.” I John
3:4 states, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness,
and sin is lawlessness.”
If we would only wrap our minds around how loathsome and
repugnant sin is to God, the first steps in understanding the totality of His
divine holiness and purity would be ours! “This is the message which we have
heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness
at all” (1 John 1:5).
Sin cannot and will not dwell in God’s presence because
there is no sin, no evil, no tempting and no deception in Him at all. Adam and
Eve had destroyed their perfect relationship with God! The way God loves us
will not allow rebellion and disobedience to go unnoticed or undisciplined.
God’s response to this act of rebellion and
disobedience is clear in Genesis 3:14-19.
He told Eve in pain she would bring forth children; her desire would be for her
husband; and he would rule over her. He told the serpent because he had done
this thing, he was cursed more than all cattle and every beast of the field,
and on his belly he would go and eat dust all the days of his life. God told
Adam because he had heeded the voice of his wife, the ground was cursed and in
toil he would eat of it all the days of his life.
God further told the serpent in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you
and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise His heel.” Exactly
what was it that God promised in this verse? It is commonly referred to as
the first Messianic prophecy because it is the first Scripture in the Bible that
points to a future Savior for the human race. The fulfillment of that prophecy and
promise is the entirety of Scripture. God promised us a Savior who would make
the atonement, make the sacrifice and make the payment for our sin debt! He never promised us a life free of
suffering and adversity!
When our lives start to crash and burn, it is because
Satan and sin are in the world. When bad things happen to good people, and we
ask the question, “Why,” we need to understand it is happening to us because God
never promised that it would not! The “why” question that is constantly asked can
be answered with one word, “sin.” Our sins and/or the sins of others are the
reason why suffering and adversity are a permanent part of our lives!
However, in our seeking to understand why, we must
realize any questions we have regarding God’s motives, integrity or authority are
inappropriate. He outright rejects all such inquiries! This is made abundantly
clear when Ezekiel was sent to rebellious Israel. We read in Ezekiel 20:2-3, “Then the word of the Lord came to
me saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says
the Lord God: ‘Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live,’ says the Lord God,
‘I will not be inquired of by you.’” No amount of defiant questioning is going
to change how God responds to and deals with us!
When one doesn’t know who God is and how He deals with
us, ignorant, irrational and blasphemous statements are made about Him. These
statements are sometimes made when experiencing suffering or adversity. When
the Word of Christ does not dwell in us richly, a person is apt to say
anything! God’s revelation of Himself and how He deals with us, how He treats
us is in the Bible. Hebrews 12:7
says, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son
is there whom a father does not chasten?” This biblical truth must be embraced
by submissive, obedient faith and turned into personal conviction.
Everything that God allows to happen to us is an
expression of His love. God cannot act separate and apart from who He is. First
John 4:7-9 says, “Beloved, let
us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God
and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this
the love of God was manifested toward us that God sent His only begotten Son
into the world that we might live through Him.” s only getoohHisHisThis is the
promise made in Genesis 3:15.
Christ was the fulfillment of that promise through His
death, burial and resurrection. God’s ultimate promise to us was Jesus Christ. John
the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who
takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Forgiveness of sin and the
restoring of our relationship to God is our greatest spiritual need! Jesus
Christ fulfilled God’s promise, the
promise made in the Garden of Eden.
From a personal vantage point, I had to come eyeball to
eyeball with this very truth of how God deals with us when I suffered a
mini-stroke in February of this year. In the April issue of this publication, I
wrote the article, “When Your Body Speaks – Listen!” At the end of that
article, I listed several things that I was learning from the experience.
One truth did not fully penetrate my thinking until
later after I wrote that article. I came to understand my life is my story, but
it is not about me; it is all about God and His ultimate plan for mankind’s
redemption. I had to submit to whatever my little life in that eternal plan might
entail, so that God could fulfill His purpose for creating me. I came to
understand that if more people would be brought to Christ, if more people would
be moved to return to Christ through my death, then that was exactly what was
going to happen!
I wanted to live and I prayed that God would spare my
life, heal me and let me live for many more years! At the same time I was
praying that prayer, submission came when I followed our Lord’s example and
understood that God’s will would be done and not mine! It was without a doubt
one of the hardest lessons I have ever
had to learn!
Biblical scholars tell us the Messianic prophecies of
the Book of Isaiah are clearer and more explicit than any other Old Testament
book. This is most evident in Isaiah 9:6,
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will
be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty
God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This is the promise
God made to us!