Punishment

Punishment.  No one likes to be punished.  Even as an adult I have an aversion to punishment.  Why is it we do not like punishment and some do all they can to avoid it?  Why is that some know the actions that require punishment, yet they have more joy in the wrong action than they care about the pain of the punishment?  We have heard, read, or watched many who perform a wrong action and then do all they can to avoid the punishment.  Some spend the rest of their lives hiding so they do not get caught.  Some are able to avoid the earthly punishment, but many are caught.

Punishment.  The man and the woman tried to hide their sin from God, but they were unsuccessful.  As you recall from Genesis 3:7-9, the man and the woman made clothes to cover themselves and then “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”  (Genesis 3:8).  When we do wrong our first instinct is to run, or hide, or lie, or pretend we did nothing wrong.  How many different TV shows are aired about criminals, their crimes, and their attempts at covering up their wrong behavior?  How many mystery books are written that attempt to solve the cover-up of the crime?  We have no trouble seeing the crime, but we do have trouble following the clues, finding the motive, and catching the criminal.

Punishment.  God has no trouble finding the wrong doers or questioning them about the sin they committed.  God knew their sin as they were committing it since God is omniscient.  So now for the punishment.  Why did God hand down the punishment He did?

  1. The serpent- Genesis 3:14. We do not see the serpent mentioned in the creation account in Genesis 1 specifically, but rather he is part of the group known as the animals that were created on day 6.  There has been much speculation about the original form of the serpent…did he have legs?  After we see the curse that was handed down, we are led to believe that the serpent had legs.
  2. Satan- Genesis 3:15. We know that Satan puffed himself up and doing this he fell from his glorious place in heaven as one of the angels.  The punishment for his pride was to demote him from an angel in the presence of God to an angel over the evil realm.  This was his punishment for his pride, but because he deceived the woman, Satan was handed down more punishment from God.  Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy foreshadowing Jesus’ coming to die on the cross and take the punishment for our sins. During this time Jesus, God’s Son, will not only pay for our sins, but He will also seal the fate of Satan and “bruise his head” which is a fatal wound to his head.
  3. Woman-Genesis 3:16. If you remember from Genesis 1 and 2 God made the woman as a helper for the man and “to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” The woman was made as a helper to man also as a needed part for procreation.  The punishment from God dealt directly with these two purposes of the woman.  She would have pain during childbirth. Since there was no birth before the fall we do not know what childbirth would be like without pain, but we know that after the fall there is pain in childbirth.  The next part of the punishment deals with the power struggle between the woman and the man.  The woman made the decision to eat the fruit rather than consult with her husband and with God.  Genesis 3:16 says “…your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.”  The word desire here means to seek control.  God is saying that the woman will seek to control her husband and exert her will, but the man will “rule” over the woman.  The woman seeks to overthrow the man’s authority as the head of the home.  There is this constant power struggle between the two.
  4. Man-Genesis 3:17-19. God’s charge to the man after creation found in Genesis 1:28-31, Genesis 2:15, 19.  God gave man the responsibility to work and keep the garden and to name the animals.  Once the animals were named that job was complete, but the working of the ground was a continual process.  The man’s curse dealt specifically with this responsibility.  There would be thorns and thistles or constant difficulties in the life of man as he struggled to provide for his family.

Each blessing or responsibility given in the beginning was turned into a difficulty because of sin.  It became a constant reminder of the sin in their lives.  Punishment for wrong doing is inevitable, unless you “get away with it.”  One of my Dad’s favorite sayings is, “If he can live with it, I can live without it.”  Can people live with their guilt? Or is it better to face the music and receive our punishment?

No Arguing

No arguing.  How many conversations have you had with your children that ends in an argument?  Not necessarily a shouting match, but a rapid back-and-forth conversation that leaves both parties frustrated and often with no solution or a solution that is not amiable to both.  The parent sees the parental truth and the child sees the truth from the perspective of the child.  How often have you had a conversation with your child that ended pleasantly and the issue was resolved and the wrong behavior was corrected and the child became the person the parent wanted them to be?  No matter with whom we have a conversation, if there is conflict or confrontation that takes place in the end there was some sort of a disagreement and exchange of words with an attempt to make the opposing parties understand the opposite point of view.

No arguing.  In the exchange between Jehovah God and the man, the woman, and the serpent, there was no arguing.  If you go back and read the exchanges that took place between each and God, there were questions by God and answers by the man and the woman.  There was no arguing.  They did not try to argue with God over their actions.  They did try to blame someone or something else for what they did and try to cover-up their actions by blaming another, but there was no arguing with God.

No arguing.  After the question and answer session between God and the man and the woman, God handed out their punishment.  Notice in Genesis 3:13, 14 that God does not ask the serpent any questions, God just hands down the punishment to the serpent and then to Satan.  Even though we have seen the serpent talk to the woman, God gave the serpent no opportunity to talk.  What good would have come from his mouth?  Nothing good had come from his mouth yet as we saw in the exchange between the serpent and the woman.  God gave the serpent no opportunity to even address the Creator of the Universe.

No arguing.  God knew the truth.  There was no need for arguing since the facts were clearly seen by God and the man and the woman committed the sin.  In our world today, we see the truth so distorted by each person’s own individual interpretation of the truth.  As we digress further and further from the truth, we see more arguing over wording, rights, freedom, and anti-discrimination.  We would not want to offend anyone so we argue over discrimination laws, a person’s rights, and a person’s personal freedoms.

No arguing.  God handed the punishment down to the serpent, Satan, the woman, and the man.  God did not worry about how they would feel or if He took away their freedoms.  They committed sin and sin must be punished.  They were banished from the garden and given individual punishments, and as we look at the passage in Genesis 3:14-19 there was no arguing with God over their punishment.  The gavel came down on their fate and they accepted it.  How can we argue with the Creator of the Universe?  Many in our culture today do not see the repercussions of their sin, rather they continue in the path of destruction, hurting many alongside of them and many that will come after them.  To borrow one of the laws of thermodynamics and apply it here “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  The more sin someone gets away with the rippling tide that will follow may not be seen immediately, but it will be felt or manifested in the generations to come.

No arguing.  We should be more like the man and woman who realized the Creator of the Universe was handing out their punishment and they just needed to listen.  The Bible is the truth by which we should live.  We need to go back to the days when it was the guidebook for living, not the ruling from the courts.

Cover-up

Cover-up.  When the truth is not told a cover-up always ensues.  When wrong is done a cover-up is close behind. Why do we cover-up the wrong we have committed?  Pure and simple-because it is wrong.  People that do the right thing by telling the truth, serving others, loving others unselfishly, being faithful in all things have no need to cover-up what they have done or said.  These individuals are humble in their actions and responses and may not want their good dead publicized, but they also do not need to hide what they have done.

Cover-up.  The scene in the garden between the woman and the serpent was not one of these positive situations.  The woman walked slowly down a path of destruction that ultimately ended in her eating the fruit.  It didn’t start by her eating the fruit, it ended with her eating the fruit.  The wrong that was committed started in her heart as the serpent led her down a path of destruction.  It did not seem destructive, but rather it was a time of searching for what she thought was truth.  Five minutes before the serpent approached the woman she thought she knew the truth.  She thought she lived in utopia, but then the serpent approached her and asked her a simple question, “Did God really say?” in that question what the woman had thought five minutes before was now put under scrutiny and the perfect environment became disrupted.

Cover-up.  As the woman slowly moved down this path, she ignored the truth that she knew for the appeal of what she thought she did not know.  Once the fruit was consumed, the cover-up began.  The first thing the couple covered-up was their bodies.  The next cover-up was when the couple heard the sound of God, they hid “among the trees of the garden.”

Cover-up.  As we move through the verses in Genesis 3, the man begins to answer God’s questions honestly.  “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” (Genesis 3:9-11).  Theses verses show the honesty of the man.  God asked him a question and he answered the question honestly, but next the cover-up begins again.

Cover-up.  “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.’” (Genesis 3:12-13).  The cover-up continues again.  The man does not want to be blamed for the wrong so he covers what he did and blames the woman.  The woman covers up what she does and blames the serpent.  Not too many people like to admit their wrong.  As it was in the beginning, it is today.  The cover-up of sin happens all too often whether on a grand scale or on a minute scale.  No one wants to found guilty of their sin so they hide behind the blame game, or someone else, or lying.  One sin seems to compound till there is so much sin the truth is hard to find.  Truth does not take any cover-up, rather it requires straightforward living without any need for a cover-up.

Cover-up.  Do you cover up the little things thinking it is only a small lie, a small error, or a small sin?  However small the cover-up a larger one usually ensues.  “Be sure your sins will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23).

Pride

Pride.  I am reading through the chronological Bible with my daughters and we read Isaiah 14 yesterday.  As I was reading, I was struck between the similarities in Isaiah 14:12-13 and Genesis 3.  I love to see how the Bible works together and continues to teach me new things even though I have spent many years reading and studying it.

Pride.  Isaiah 14:12-13 is a written record by the prophet Isaiah of the fall of Satan.  Satan was created by God as an angel.  His name was Lucifer.  According to Isaiah 14:12-13, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”  Satan, as an angel created by God, decided that He wanted to have the power and prestige of God so he said he would “make himself like the Most High.”   The errors in thinking abound in this short phrase.

Pride.  “I will make myself like the Most High.”  God did not make Himself, He did not create Himself.  God always has been.  As finite creatures we cannot fully grasp the concept of eternality, no beginning or no end.  It is a concept bigger than our finite minds can process; however, the facts still do not change despite the fact that we cannot understand it:  God is eternal and was not created nor did He create Himself.

Pride.  “I will make myself like the Most High.”  Since Satan is a created being he cannot make himself into an infinite creature.  Since Satan was made by God, he cannot make himself like God.  A pot cannot say to the potter that it wants to make itself into the potter.  We understand the impossibility of this, yet Satan did not see the unachievable quest he was on as he led one-third of the angels to follow him as he attempted “to make himself like the Most High.”

Pride.  In this quest of making himself “like the Most High” Satan became less like the Most High as he fell from the status of perfection in the presence of God and took on the persona of evil.  As we compare this with Genesis 3:5 and the exchange between the serpent and the woman we can see the same trap that Satan fell for. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5).  “You will be like God” and “Make himself like the Most High” are the same thought.  Only in their pride they wanted to be like God, not in their humility.  Satan, in the form of the serpent, used the same words of deceit on the woman that he used on himself.  Neither instance resulted in what they had hoped for, rather their aspirations of being like God turned into them being less like God.

Pride.  The serpent and the woman, once they made their decision to be like God, now had in their make-up, evil.  God is holy and has no evil.  Instead of being more like God they are less like God.  This same trap that the woman fell for is the same trap the Satan uses on us today.  We want to be like God, we want the attention and the glory.  We have placed ourselves as the one to be worshipped, rather than the Creator of the universe.  Nothing has changed over the years.  Pride was the seed that sprouted into Satan’s fall, and pride was the seed in the fall of the woman.  Where has your pride gotten you?  Are you more respected, in a better position, have more wisdom, or “like God” because of your pride?  If I had to choose a person to spend my day with and the choice was between a person that was proud and a person that was humble, I would choose the humble person any day.  I would not want to listen to someone talk about themselves all day.  Pride…where has it gotten you?