Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday, May 28th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 1-2; Psalm 106; Acts 17
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 3:14-15

Genesis 3:14-15

English Standard Version (ESV)
14 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.
15 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.”
Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: The Fall of Man
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: The Curse on the Serpent Part 1 and Part 2

We saw in yesterday's passage that it took only one sin to completely alter the human race.  Immediately, Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin, they took no personal responsibility but rather tried to shift the blame, they tried to justify themselves, they were in rebellion against God with no desire to repent and no ability to redeem themselves.  Just like all of humanity.

And now God is handing down divine judgment, specific to each party involved in the fall.

He starts with the serpent.  Obviously, it was Satan using the snake's body, not the snake itself - but even still, God altered the design of the snake forever.  Snakes must have original had legs of some sort, but are now condemned to slither on the ground.  The anatomy of a snake was altered forever with this divine judgment.  Now, obviously, snakes themselves don't care - they're snakes.  But snakes become a symbol of the punishment of Satan.  He wanted to be higher than God, but instead has been placed as low as possible.

MacArthur: Every time you see a snake, be reminded that God has vanquished Satan to the lowest level and symbolized in that crawling snake.

Then God moves past the physical curse to the spiritual curse.

MacArthur brought up an excellent point that I've never heard or thought of before.  Satan likely thought he now had humanity in his permanent grasp.  Just like the angels who sided with him had been permanently cast out of heaven, he likely thought he had successfully made man an enemy of God and a friend of Satan himself.  And it is true, in our fallen state we are the enemy of God.

But God was going to change that.  We see in this passage the first gospel message!

Satan will not succeed in his effort to control all of humanity for his evil purposes.  Yes, he had succeeded in deceiving Adam and Eve.  Yes, they had chosen Satan over God.

But God was going to provide the opportunity for man to be redeemed and to, once again, become the friend of God and the enemy of Satan.

In particular, God says that Eve would become the friend of God and the enemy of Satan (the first case of election!), and a portion of Adam and Eve's seed would be redeemed.  But only a portion.  There would be enmity between Eve's offspring and between Satan's offspring - meaning that there would be enmity between the redeemed and the unregenerate.

God was making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that no only has Satan not permanently captured Adam and Eve, he has not permanently captured all of humanity.

And then we see a picture of that redemption plan.  Yes, Satan would bruise His heel (Jesus during the crucifixion), but Jesus would bruise Satan's head, ie, He would conquer sin and death in the crucifixion and resurrection, and ultimately destroy Satan and evil forever at His Second Coming.

MacArthur summarizes it this way:
So what is Satan being told in this curse? You're not even going to be able to hang on to this first couple, nor have you managed to conquer all of humanity. You are going to go into conflict immediately with Eve. You're going to go into conflict with all of the godless people who followed you and are your children with all of the children of faith who believe in Me and it's always going to be that way throughout all of history. And there's going to come one man out of that seed of those who believe in the true and living God who love God and hate Satan, you will attempt to bruise His heel in a great struggle, and you will succeed in giving Him a temporary bruise that will heal, but He will crush your head.
Martin Luther who, by the way, loved this portion said, "God never told the devil who 'He' would be." And so he said, "The devil has lived in dread of every woman's son who was a believer, especially those in the covenant line because he never knew who 'He' would be." And if you study the history of Israel, you see how many times that Satan tried to destroy the godly in the line of the covenant.
In the midst of the curse on Satan, we see the beautiful promise of election, salvation, redemption, transformation, regeneration, forgiveness, mercy, grace - all in the promise of a victorious Messiah.

Truly, this is amazing grace.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 3:16
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 3-4, Psalm 107, Acts 18

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