advent: immediate hope

Older chests reveal themselves like cracks in the wall
starting small and grow in time
and we all seem to need the help
of someone else to mend that shelf for too many books
read me your favorite line

Older Chests, Damien Rice

Genesis 3

Humanity falls a mere three chapters into the Biblical narrative. Most of us are familiar with the story: the woman, tempted by the serpent, eats fruit God instructed her not to. The man follows suit. The two of them realize their nakedness, feel shame and hide from God, who has come looking for them.

A glorious life in fellowship with God in the midst of the garden is tainted. God comes looking for His friends and finds them unable to raise their eyes to meet his gaze. Sin immediately misshapes relationships. God immediately steps in. Animal skins are used to clothe Adam and Eve, innocent blood spilled to cover their sin, a foreshadowing of what is to come. Here God begins to tell the broader story of who He is than was necessary prior to humanity’s fall.

He will not leave Adam and Eve in their shame. He curses the serpent, promising the woman’s offspring will crush him. In so doing, God further foreshadows the promise of Jesus. The serpent may have deceived Adam and Eve, but his power is finite.

Adam and Eve suffer consequences of their choices: sin entered the world, and with sin, their lives are overshadowed by death. They are expelled from the garden. Their relationship with one another is altered. Their relationship with God is altered.

None of these things, though, alters God’s heart for them. And none of our missteps alter God’s heart for us. Looking back to God’s initial response to the fall- covering their shame and promising defeat of the deceiver- builds an immediate sense of hope within the inquisitive reader. God remains committed to the story of humanity even in the moment it becomes a story needing redemption. We have hope.

Consequences… shame… covering… redemption… as you reflect on these words, think of a time in your life when you experienced each one. Which word brings the most painful memory? Which word recalls the most hopeful and liberating promise?

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