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Vol.  9  No. 11 November 2007  Page 8
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Priscilla's Page By Marilyn LaStrape *Editor's Note*

Marilyn LaStrape

The Promise of God

By Marilyn LaStrape

    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!

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