Day 2 – November 30, 2020
Note: if you’d like to start with the Introduction to the whole series, please start here.
Light a Candle:
To remember and focus on our need for the Light of the world, who came and is to come again – Jesus.
“So the Lord God said to the serpent, “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, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 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.”” Genesis 3:14-19 NIV
“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.” Genesis 3:23-24 NIV
I remember a time my brother and I locked ourselves out of the house. I was about 6 and he about 10. Our daily instructions were to stay in the house, after Mom left for work, until it was time to go to school. Then we were to lock the door and go to school. One morning, we went outside to play a little basketball in the driveway and one of us (probably me), pulled the door shut, locking it behind us. Our lunches and school supplies were in the house and we were on the outside, knowing we had just been caught. We tried to make it back into the house through a bedroom window. Of course, at our age, taking a screwdriver and trying to pry the window open made perfect sense. We did and the window cracked. We ended up at school with no lunches. I won’t tell you the story we made up, but I’ll just say, it didn’t work. We were stuck on the outside, feeling very trapped.
Ever since the Garden incident, the human race has been trapped on the outside. We are trapped in a world that is filled with pain. We’re doomed to the work the dirt and return to the dirt “from which we were taken.” (v.19, 23) This is a pain filled world. Life is a struggle. The Garden was a place of innocence, but boy, not this place. The Garden was a place of intimacy. This is a place of trying to one-up the other. The Garden was a place of purposeful pursuit. This is a place of endless toil.
Unless we understand how different our life is from what God created us for, we won’t see the need for a Deliverer, or Savior. The curse affects us in powerful ways. It doesn’t just make life hard, it makes thriving as God intended, impossible. First, the curse affects our spiritual relationship with the enemy of God. We are now part of the spiritual battle between God and Satan. We know our capacity for evil and the evil humanity performs. Second, it affects the future of the human race. The beauty of childbirth is intertwined with pain. So much so, that it can be the most painful and sorrowful aspect of a Mother’s life. Thirdly, it infects the most important and intimate relationship a person can have with a spouse. And lastly, this curse has made survival a burdensome task. To feed ourselves and stay upright takes all we have, for as long as we have.
I could tell you, “Be careful, don’t get locked out!” But we are already locked out. We come into this world locked out. What we need is to be delivered from this curse. This is why for generations, the world waited for the promised path back to garden life. Most tried to figure out their own path. But all we get is broken windows. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” God has revealed his deliverer. He has overcome the curse. This Advent, this is who we reflect on and devote ourselves to.
Most holy Creator, God. Today, I praise you as the One who created order out of chaos. And I praise you as the One, who in your infinite wisdom, removed us from the garden. You put us in a world that would turn us back to you. You gave us an existence that would remind us hour by hour, that we are in need of your deliverance. And we are so thankful, Lord that you are the deliverer. You are a saving God. And we are only safe, when we come back to you.
In your word, through your people and the testimony of Your Spirit, you have revealed Jesus as the One who would break the curse and reconcile the world to You. And because of his righteousness and his faithfulness, we can know what it means to live that garden life, even in a world that still lives with the burden of the curse.
We pray today, for those we know who are burdened by the realities of this curse.
Pray the names of friends who are burdened by life in this world:
We pray that they may find the freedom that comes in knowing the Deliverer, Jesus. And we pray that as we live, we may provide a witness of what it means to know the life of blessing. In the name of Christ we pray, Amen.