A series of short daily readings from Genesis Chapters 1 to 3 along with some some devotional thoughts and a prayer – a great way to start 2021!
Genesis 1:1 – 2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
I find the first verse of the Bible so comforting! It’s so simple, but also so mind-boggling. That was the beginning because that’s when time began. God was already in existence, eternally. This first step was to make the sky (the heavens) and the ground (the earth). There was no shape to the ground and the sky was dark. It was like a lump of clay in a dark room. The only thing that was there before this was God – God the Father having the plans, God the Son making effectual the Father’s will, and God the Spirit being ever-present in the act of creation. Dwelling on these two verses really highlights God’s eternality, his big-ness, his power, and his community nature. God was never alone – he did not need to make his creation.
God is eternal and creative.
Lord God – Father, Son and Spirit – you are glorious! I praise you for your power and creativity and thank you that we see glimpses of both every day. Help me not to lose sight of these truths about you. Amen.
Genesis 1:3 – 5
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness he called ‘night’. And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.
It was God’s will for there to be light. It sounds simple, but it’s worth remembering. Light exists because God wanted it to! He used words to speak his will, and it happened. I can’t imagine a whole universe with no light. I don’t think I’ve ever been completely without light. But to go from that to there suddenly being light for the very first time must have been spectacular! God methodically organised the light into day and night, but he hadn’t made the sun, moon or any other stars yet – in fact the only things existing are the formless earth, and God himself. So the light must have come from God. The only other thing we know about the light is that it was good! God is so powerful, but also so good in order for this to happen.
God is powerful and good.
Lord God, the world around us would say that you are not powerful, or not good, or neither. But the very first page of the Bible clearly proclaims you are both! Help me to hold fast to that truth, and to declare it. Amen.
Genesis 1:6 – 8
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault ‘sky’. And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.
God knows what he is doing – he is very methodical. On the first day he made light and separated it from darkness. The next day he made the sky – a ‘vault’ filled with air, separating the water that will become the sea from, presumably, the rest of the universe (which appears here to be made of water – it could be referring to clouds, or perhaps the universe was different then). It seems clear that the purpose of creating the world was to make it suitable for humans to live in. God has provided light and darkness, air, and a separation from water. He knew what he wanted humans to be like and planned his creation to meet our physical needs.
God is thoughtful and caring.
Thank you, heavenly Father, that you meet all of my needs – you always have and you always will. I’m sorry that I’m so quick to forget this. Help me to fix this truth ever before me. Amen.
Genesis 1:9 – 13
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground ‘land’, and the gathered waters he called ‘seas’. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seeds in it, according to their various kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the third day.
God could have made humans to live in or under water, but he chose in advance to make us land-dwellers, and so, before he made us, he made a suitable environment for us. He could have dried up all of the water – but he chose to leave some. The power of water and our reliance on it reveals so much of our relationship with, and dependence on, God. On this third day, God also made every kind of plant – from daisies to oak trees. God is not constrained by time limits! God even made his creation self-sustaining: he made plants with seeds so that they could reproduce indefinitely, creating infinite plants and variety. This foreshadows God’s plan for humans – that they, too, will reproduce. So after the six days of creation, God really does rest from creating. He then moves to a role of sustaining.
God plans for the future.
Thank you, Lord God Almighty, that you look at the big picture. You knew Adam and Eve would sin before they ever produced offspring, and yet the whole of creation proclaims that it was always your plan to fill the world with people – people who would need rescuing in a dramatic way! Thank you that this was your plan all along! Amen.
Genesis 1:14 – 19
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.
God had already made light on day one, and had separated it from darkness, but now God makes a source for the lights – it doesn’t just radiate from him now. He knew that humans would be civilised – the animals wouldn’t need to mark calendars! Part of his purpose, too, was that we would be able to mark sacred times. Before we were made, we were designed to remember and to celebrate! As well as making the sun and moon, God “also made the stars” (v16).There are billions of stars (or more!) – God made them with apparently very little effort! It’s also interesting that from day one, God separated time into day and night – that was his plan, so he designed whole galaxies to fit in with his plan. Nothing was an accident.
God is organised. God wants us to celebrate and worship.
Father, help me to celebrate you daily! Whether in the midst of suffering, monotony, peace or fun – in each situation, help me to stop and remember you and your mighty works, and to celebrate with inner (and sometimes outer!) joy. Amen.
Genesis 1:20 – 23
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.
God wanted both the sky and the sea to be filled with creatures. When God first made humans they didn’t eat meat or fish, not until after Noah. So God didn’t make them for a practical purpose – they weren’t necessary at this stage. It must have been simply to point us to him: his power, creativity and abundant generosity. God made plankton and blue whales; sparrows and flamingoes; starfish, sharks, coral, cod; eagles, sea gulls, budgies and pterodactyls. Again, like the plants, God created both birds and sea creatures with the ability to reproduce, so they would be sustainable and would fill the earth. God is playing the long game with his creation. He doesn’t intend to give up on it.
God is generous. God doesn’t give up.
Lord Almighty, I marvel at your imagination and generosity at creating so many beings that would all reflect your glory in so many ways. I’m sorry that I am so quick to forget. Thank you that you never give up on me. Let me reflect your glory too. Amen.
Genesis 1:24 – 25
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Again, God has organised his creation in the way that seemed best to him – which of course means it absolutely is the best way. He already made the distinctions between sea creatures, birds and land creatures, and here he divides the land creatures into livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals. And again God says that, “it was good,” (verse 25). Who are all these categories of animal useful to? Humans! It’s more evidence that God made the whole universe for people. It’s one big, creative, diverse and dynamic gift to us! That’s not because we are the centre of the universe (though we often think we are!) but because God is, and he shows his glory most of all through people!
God loves people and is glorified through them.
Lord God, I’m sorry that I keep trying to sit on your throne at the centre of the universe. Cause me, instead, to gaze at your glory and reflect it to those around me. Amen.
Genesis 1:26 – 27
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Once he had finished making everything else, God created humans, and they are different because, unlike everything else, mankind was made ‘in God’s image’. We see here that God is Trinity, because he says “our image”. That may be a clue as to what makes us different from the animals (what it means to be ‘in his image’) – that we were made for community, like God, who is eternally in community with himself. But also the fact that we were made to rule over the rest of creation. I think that’s key – we are like God in that we have responsibilities towards creation. Both male and female are made in God’s image – both sexes have dignity because of this. But also there is a distinction between the sexes, that’s why they are both mentioned – “male and female” – not just ‘humanity’ generally.
God is community.
Heavenly Father, I really feel that I was made for other people. I feel it when I’m left out of things, when I see someone else hurting, when I share good news with a friend, and when I want to be near a loved one.Give me the power to love others well, in a way that puts them first and is not self-seeking. Amen.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
This is what is often called the ‘creation mandate’. It is the instructions that God gave to humans on their role in God’s creation. They have a job to do: they are to reproduce to fill the world with humans, and they are to tame the world – to rule over it. This is a blessing that God gives to them, but it is still work. Humans were created to work even before the fall. Though, presumably, the work wasn’t hard yet, it would have felt like a blessing, which it often doesn’t today. This mandate also sets up the natural order of things. Humans are to be in charge, not any of the other living creatures. I wonder if that means that before the fall all creatures were tameable, or whether it just means that humans were to care for them. Revelation tells us that in heaven the lion will lay with the lamb – one day they will all be tame!
God is a good manager.
Lord God, I’m sorry that I so often resent work – from the challenges of raising children to the relentlessness of laundry, to the tensions that come with an office job. Help me to see the blessing and joy in all of these, and to serve you through them. Amen.
Genesis 1:29 – 31
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.
God doesn’t leave anything out. He makes it clear what humans and animals are to eat. And he gives the best to the humans. We get all the delicious fruits, vegetables and nuts. The animals get grass and leaves! It is notable that in this perfect creation, before the fall, nothing is killed for food. It’s possible there was no death of any kid at all before the fall. But we can’t be certain of this. It’s clear, though, that God is setting humans apart from the animals and giving good gifts to them. It’s also notable that after this instruction is written “and it was so” – it’s not just acts of creation that God brings into being by speaking, but acts of will too – commands. Now creation is complete. Before, when each stage was complete, God declared it “good,” now he calls it “very good” – it was all gearing up towards the creation of humanity.
God gives good gifts.
Lord God, every good and perfect gift comes from you! I thank you and praise you for this! I’m sorry that I so often forget this and take your gifts for granted or think that I earned them myself. Teach me, I pray, to focus on you as the gift-giver more and more through the busy-ness of each day. Amen.
Genesis 2:1 – 3
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
That was it. In six days God created the “vast array” of the whole universe! Then he was done. He called it “very good,” he’d completed what he set out to do, and then he stopped. It’s not that God was tired, worn out, or fed up, just that he was finished. And he blessed the seventh day. It was something special. God doesn’t say anything yet about people following this pattern – in fact, God doesn’t even indicate that this is a pattern. God didn’t have a rest and then start on the next week of creating. No, God is still in that rest now. Until he destroys the current world and creates the new heavens and earth on that final day, God will still be at rest from his work of creation. Note that this means we are still in the seventh day – and it is blessed and holy!
God works and rests perfectly.
Creator God, you are perfect and you know what to do and when to stop. I am greatly imperfect and really struggle with that. Give me wisdom, I pray, to get it right. Enable me to glorify you in my working and resting. Amen.
Genesis 2:4 – 6
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Now, no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.
After Genesis 1 looks at the big picture of how the world was created in six days, now chapter 2 focuses on the how and why God made humans. These two verses focus on their job – taking care of the earth. God had created plant life, and even planted a garden (v8) but plants had not started to reproduce yet – their seeds were not planted and nobody was tending to them. The job of humans was to glorify God by working – and it still is! It’s fascinating that at this point there was no rain! God had made a whole different system for bringing water to earth. I wonder why! Rain isn’t mentioned until Noah and the flood – it could be that that was the first ever rain! But God was still providing what the world needed.
God provides for our needs, sometimes in unexpected ways.
Lord God, help me to reflect you, and so glorify you in all of the ways I work – at home, in the office, and in the community. Thank you that you provide for all of our needs. Help me, I pray, to acknowledge this and praise you for every need you have met. Amen.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
We don’t get much detail about how most of creation was formed – God said “let” and it just happened. With humans, though, God has a more hands-on approach. God said, “let us make mankind” (Gen 1:26) and then here in verse 7 he forms Adam out of dirt from the ground. Why did he make humans out of something else? To show a connectedness to the rest of creation? To humble us? To show that while made in God’s image, we are different to God? Whatever the reason, God takes this man and breathes life into him. It doesn’t seem as though God has done this with any of the animals, so, again, humans are different. We have God’s breath in us… also known in Scripture as the Spirit!
God breathes life into people through his Spirit.
Lord, once I was dead in my sins, but now you have breathed life into me by your Spirit, through the work of Jesus. I am no longer spiritually dead – I have your life coursing within me. Cause me, Father, to remember that and to walk in step with the Spirit. Amen.
Genesis 2:8 – 9
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Here we get a brief description of what Eden was like. God planted the garden – he cultivated it especially for humankind. And it was beautiful! The trees he planted there were “pleasing to the eye and good for food.” This was not just food that would sustain them, but truly delicious fruit! Unlike the animals, Adam and Eve (and so the rest of humanity) get delicious meals. And in the centre are two trees mentioned by name. They must have been the focus of the garden, being right at the centre – and God puts them there with a purpose. None of this was an accident.
God is kind and generous
Sometimes when I sin, Lord, I want to blame you. ‘If you hadn’t put that temptation there…’ which forgets that you are kind and generous. You do all things for your glory and our ultimate good. Every opportunity to sin is also an opportunity for obedience. Let me remember that. Amen.
Genesis 2:10 – 14
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden: from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gishon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
A further description of what the world was like before the fall. There was one river that started in Eden that went out and watered the whole earth! In the Bible, rivers are a picture of life and blessing – this source is in Eden, where God dwelt with humans. The presence of God is what blesses the whole world – that has always been true and it always will be. There is mention of other lands – I’m not sure if these existed then, at the creation of Adam, or if Moses (as author) is mentioning places contemporary to him. Either way, there is continuity of God’s blessing, even after the fall – God provides good water that gives life, but also other good gifts like gold and jewels. How wonderful! Most of all, we get life and blessings in Jesus – the source of living water that will never run dry.
God gives us life and blessings
Every good and perfect gift comes from You, Lord God! How glorious that you reveal yourself to us through the giving of beautiful gifts – gold and precious stones. We should look to these and marvel at your beauty. Thank you for the most beautiful gift of Jesus. Let me look to him continuously and marvel at your beauty and glory. Amen.
Genesis 2:15 – 17
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Again is the confirmation that humans were made for the purpose of working the land. God is, again, generous in telling the man that he can eat from any tree in the garden – we already know there are delicious fruits for him there. God, graciously, makes it very clear the one tree he is not to eat from, and even gives him the reason, so he knows how serious it is. There is no possibility of misunderstanding this. God doesn’t say that he would immediately die, but that he would certainly die. And God doesn’t say “if you eat” but “when you eat” – he knows it is going to happen! But if God didn’t give people a rule, they would have had no opportunity to obey him in the face of temptation! God is glorified when we choose him over sin – so there had to be an opportunity to sin! It is actually a blessing!
God gives us opportunities to obey him.
Lord God, so often when faced with temptation, I’m inclined to act as though I don’t understand your commands fully, or I push them aside, or minimise the consequences. But all sin offends you and leads to death! Thank you that I’m free, now, not to sin, through Jesus. Work in me that I may consistently choose you over sin. Amen.
Genesis 2:18 – 20
The Lord God said, “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
Here is yet another example showing that humans are above the rest of creation – Adam has the job of choosing names for every creature. It must have taken a really long time! It also means that they must have all been present in Eden – or at least all types (ie every species!) v19 suggests that the animals were made from the dust like Adam was, perhaps. But it is clear that they don’t have this ‘breath of God’ in them. The more animals God parades in front of Adam, the more it confirms the fact that he is, in fact, alone! God says this is not good. It’s not that this is a mistake – God always intended to create Eve, otherwise there would be no continuation of the human race! This event shows us, though, that women are needed for more than just to produce children. She is to be a suitable helper – God will reveal what that means through the rest of scripture!
God has a plan. God loves men and women.
Thank you, Father, that all humans have dignity and purpose – we are above the animals and women are more than just breeding stock! Teach me to see the role you have created for me today. I’m sorry that I so often warp this. Amen.
Genesis 2:21 – 22
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
This is one of the creation events that particularly get mocked, but if we believe the Bible, we need to take it at face value. God could have made Eve the same way he made Adam, but he chose not to. This makes Eve the same, but different. She came from him – they are one flesh (more on this tomorrow!). But there are also huge theological implications from this, to do with our salvation. All humans come from Adam. We often think of Eve as the mother of all humans – which is true – but it goes further than that, as Eve came from Adam. So when we get to Paul talking about humans being dead in Adam but alive in Christ (Romans 5:12 – 19), this is the proof that verifies it. Every single human came from Adam – literally.
God’s word – all of it – holds together and makes sense.
Lord, there are such amazing gems to discover in scripture, if only I look for them. Help me not to be blase about your word, but to treasure it and be saturated in it, day in, day out. Amen.
Genesis 2:23 – 25
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; and she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they became one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
This is such a beautiful scripture passage. Adam is delighted with Eve because she is like him! He has some kind of authority over her because he names her. But it is not domineering, it is beautiful and comes from love. He wants to highlight their one-ness. Moses, the author, adds in an aside to help us further understand this – telling us that this is why future generations will leave their parents, stop being a unit with that family, and become one with their spouse instead. They literally become one flesh, one body, and coming together sexually reminds them of that in a way that brings delight. It is a wonderful time – Adam and Eve are together, they are right together, and they are naked with no shame! No embarrassment, awkwardness or body hang-ups. And this perfect unity is a picture of what Christ and the Church shall one day have in perfection – and now have in part.
God delights in his union with us.
Lord, thank you that my marriage is a safe place for me to be me, my marriage is ‘home’. Thank you, even more, that I am united in Christ in this way too! Help me to delight in the full implications of my union with Christ. Amen.
Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
From a great high to a great low! Later the Bible makes it clear that this snake is Satan – a supernatural being with the intent to destroy God’s kingdom and plan. Satan’s first turning against God was, most likely (as it doesn’t seem that any other beings did so first) the very first sin – so at this point in the Bible, sin had already entered creation. We don’t know how long after their creation this event is – I’m guessing not long! The snake is described as ‘crafty’ – he approached Eve with intent, and his intent is to get her not to believe God’s word. He twists what God had said, planting the idea that he may have said not to eat from any tree, making God seem like a killjoy. This is still Satan’s intent today, to have us believe lies instead of God’s word – this is where sin comes from. We must be on our guard and arm ourselves with Scripture.
God created Satan. God arms us against Satan.
Lord God, help me to give Satan his due and no more. I’m sorry for the many times I believe his lies instead of the sweet truth of scripture. Help me to delight in your word more and more, that Satan wouldn’t get a foothold in my thoughts. Amen.
Genesis 3:2 – 3
The woman said to the snake, “we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
At first, it looks like Eve is refuting the snake by telling him what God really said, but on closer inspection it’s clear that she too is twisting God’s word by missing part out and adding part in. She says they can’t eat of the tree (singular) in the middle of the garden, completely ignoring the wonderful gift God has given them of the tree of life, which they may eat freely from, which is also in the middle of the garden. And she adds on that they must not even touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This addition and subtraction make God seem dogmatic and pedantic – not the generous, loving God that he is! This is where her sin happens, the unbelieving of God’s good character – before she even thinks of eating the fruit, she has hardened her heart to God. We so easily do the same.
God’s word is good and true.
Father, I’m sorry for my unbelief, which is sin and always leads to further sin. Show me, I pray, where I am not believing your word rightly, and help me to cling to the beautiful truth in your word. Amen.
Genesis 3:4 – 5
“You will not certainly die,” the snake said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
This is how Satan works. He tells outright lies, then makes them seem plausible and attractive. God had told them that if they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would “certainly die”. Satan says “You will not certainly die.” When put side by side like this, the lie is obvious and we wouldn’t fall for it. But Eve, after prompting by Satan, has already twisted God’s word a ‘little’ bit, so this lie fits better. And it sounds good. Eve wants to be like God – that is at the heart of all sin, we want to be like God: we want to be in control, we want to know everything, we want to set morality, we want to create life and death at our will… and the list goes on. In order not to sin, we need to hold God’s word as true and let God be God – not us.
God sets good boundaries for us.
Lord God, help me to have your words always be on my lips, ready to combat the devil’s lies. I’m sorry for the many ways that I want to be God – please forgive me and help me to combat the root of sin by revelling in your glory. Amen.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
By this point the sin had already happened – certainly Satan’s sin of turning against God, but also Eve’s sin of twisting God’s word and not believing his goodness. Even Adam had already sinned – he stood with Eve and the snake but said nothing. He should have taken the lead and corrected her. Because their sins had already taken place – they both already had sinful heart attitudes – it was easy for them to take and eat the fruit. Eve has even justified it by noticing it’s beautiful, delicious and gives wisdom. This outward disobedience is the inevitable result of sinful heart attitudes. We need to take our desires and our thought life seriously – this is where sin takes root, and sin always leads to outward disobedience when not taken in hand by repentance – see James 1:15.
Sin always leads to more sin when we don’t turn back to God.
Almighty God, you know my heart and how often sin hatches there in the form of bitterness, envy, slander, greed… the list goes on. Help me to repent more and more quickly, that I may step from death to life more readily and enjoy obedience to you. Amen.
Genesis 3:7 – 8
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
We see here that God’s rules are not arbitrary – they are for our good. Eating the fruit opened Adam and Eve’s eyes, which is what they wanted – but they didn’t understand the consequences. Suddenly they experience shame for the first time – they don’t even want each other to see their nudity, so it has worsened their relationship with each other. And when they hear God coming, they hide from him, even though they have covered their nakedness. So there is a barrier between them and God now too – one that wasn’t there before. V8 gives us a glimpse of how wonderful their relationship with God was before they sinned – he literally walked with them in the garden! God’s rule – the one rule! – was to preserve the relationship they had with him and with each other.
God gives good commands.
Father, I’m sorry that I doubt your goodness when sin looks attractive. Thank you that you love to have a relationship with me, that you made it possible at the cross, that you healed the great divide. Help me to keep walking closely with you and to savour our relationship. Amen.
Genesis 3:9 – 11
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”
In face of Adam and Eve’s sin and shame, God is incredibly gracious and merciful. God knows everything – he is omniscient. But still God asks Adam where he is – he gives him a chance to explain himself, for Adam to come towards God. God draws out Adam’s confession slowly – he could rightly accuse and condemn immediately, but God chooses not to. He doesn’t even force Adam to do the difficult thing of saying what he has done – God asks him, patiently, it seems, if he has eaten the fruit. Which God knows he has! It’s notable that God pursues Adam here, not Eve. Adam was to be the leader; Adam was created first, Adam was the one God gave the command to – he should have known better and should have cared for Eve, so God holds him to account. But still God is gracious… and he treats us the same.
God is omniscient. God is gracious.
Lord God, I’m sorry that at times my sin causes me to want to run and hide from you – you know it anyway! Thank you for treating me with kindness I don’t deserve. Help me to confess my sin quickly and run to you always Amen.
Genesis 3:12 – 13
The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The snake deceived me, and I ate.”
Here the breakdown of relationship is displayed – Adam doesn’t take responsibility for his sin, but throws Eve under the bus. Eve, too, blames the snake instead of owning up. At first glance, what they say is reasonable – Eve did give Adam the fruit, and the snake was sneaky. But this misses the point of where the sin actually lays. Adam should have been leading Eve. Eve should have corrected the snake when he mis-quoted God. But, again, God doesn’t crush the people he made by confronting them with the full extent of their sin all at once. No, he gives Eve the chance to explain herself too. God treats me the same way. Graciously, he reveals my sin to me gradually, giving me time to repent. May I be faster to do so than Adam and Eve!
God is kind. God gives us chance to repent.
Lord God, thank you for your undeserved kindness to me. Thank you that you nurture me, drawing me ever closer to you, instead of pushing me away with a list of my sins. Help me to be fast to repent – I’m sorry for when my pride slows me down. Amen.
Genesis 3:14 – 15
So the Lord God said to the snake, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
To the snake, God doesn’t provide the kindness of the chance to explain himself – God goes straight to dishing out the punishment. It seems that God is partly punishing the actual snake (crawling on its belly) but there is something bigger, too. God is curtailing Satan’s power. God doesn’t destroy him immediately,, as he has every right to do, and he even allows Satan some power – there will be a lifelong struggle between the devil and Eve’s offspring. But this is all part of God’s plan! Before he even tells Adam and Eve of their punishment (though they have already felt the natural effects of their sin), God sets out his plan to rescue them. Satan will snap at the heel of future humans, but one is coming who will crush Satan’s head!
God provides a saviour. All things fit into God’s plan.
Lord, in all the darkness and suffering of this world, help me to turn my eyes upon Jesus – He is the light of the world, he has broken the power of sin, death and the devil, so I am free to walk in fellowship with you! Help me to marvel at that glorious truth! Amen.
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Eve’s punishment goes down to all future generations. Every time a new person is born, they will come into the world with pain and screaming, a vivid reminder that this world is now broken. It’s more than that, too: every miscarriage, still birth, barren womb and even period pain reminds us that this world is not as it should be – that it is broken because of sin. But there is blessing in that, too, for acknowledging our need for a saviour drives us to him – and God has promised in the verse before that he will come – and we can see Jesus has done it! But we still need to cling to God’s promise that he will come back again to make things right. The same is true for every ‘gender war’ – inequality, confusion over rules, misunderstandings, frustrations, and marital bickering. But it should all turn us to Jesus.
God uses hard things to turn us to him.
Lord, I feel keenly that there is so much wrong about this world. I’m sorry for the times I get stuck in introspection and self-pity. Help me, in the midst of any suffering, to lift my eyes to you and hold fast to your promises. Amen.
Genesis 3:17 – 19
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Adam’s role was to work the garden and care for it (2:15) but he hadn’t done that by letting Eve eat, and then following suit. God reminds him of this before he gives him his punishment – and it is fitting. Now working the garden and caring for it will be difficult, painful and tiring, and ultimately lead to death. I actually find this quite comforting! Because I already feel it. Work is hard, painful (physically and emotionally) – and I feel like I am always tired. This reminds me that this is because it’s God’s purpose – it is to remind us, like Eve’s punishment, that this world is broken and we need its creator to come and put it right. I can praise God that he will! The punishment has already been taken by Jesus – the price paid. Now we can wait expectantly for him to come and make all things new.
God knows that life is difficult
Father, help me to keep going with my work – work at the office, work at home, raising kids, evangelising, serving… the list goes on and it is hard and tiring. But you know that. You caused it to be so, and you still call us to do it. Help me to lean on you and keep going. Amen.
Genesis 3:20 – 21
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Even after this most terrible event… life goes on. God kept his promise, because Adam and Eve willsurely die – but not immediately. We have seen the immense punishments for their sin, but now God helps them to get going again. This could rightly be the end of the human race. God has every right to destroy them and give up on humans. But that is not his plan – and that wouldn’t show his enormous mercy and grace. In God’s providence, Eve is the mother of every single human. And more than just continuing the human race, God even covers their shame by clothing them. To do this, God killed one or more animals – the very first animal sacrifice to cover over sin. A foreshadowing of what is to come. This animal sacrifice doesn’t pay for their sin (none ever do), but it covers their shame and allows them to continue, pointing to the need for a greater sacrifice to permanently cover sin.
God shows enormous grace and mercy to his people. God sacrifices for them.
Lord, my view of the cross is too small. I stop and marvel that you would kill an animal to cover the shame of your people. How much more astounding is it that you sacrificed yourself – in the most painful way – for me? Lord, I’m sorry for my insincerity. Help me to wonder at the cross more each day. Amen.
Genesis 3:22 – 24
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
There are a number of doctrines that find confirmation here – God is trinity (“one of us”), God’s sovereignty, (“must not be allowed”), but mostly we see the stark consequences of sin. Before, humans were able to live forever – now, because they have sinned, as God promised, they must at some point die. This is a mercy too – think of the trouble sinful humans could cause if we never died. Perhaps even more heartbreaking, though, is the banishment from the garden of Eden. Here, Adam and Eve had literally walked with God, enjoying friendship with him. Now they must not be in God’s presence – God “drove out” Adam – presumably, then, Adam put up a fight – he wanted to stay. And God guarded the entrance with a powerful being with a flaming sword – that no human could ever eat from the tree of life. It is now impossible for humans to live forever or to be in God’s presence… but, of course, we know that God has a plan to make this a possibility again!
God cannot allow sinful people in his presence.
Lord God, I long to be with you in the way Adam and Eve were before the fall. Thank you that through Jesus I can now approach you and enjoy some fellowship with you. I long for the day when Jesus returns and we get to be with you fully. Help me to fix my eyes on that. Amen.