MORNING MEDITATION

Hope Beyond Despair: Grace In The Midst Of Punishment!”

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Hope Beyond Despair: Grace In The Midst Of Punishment!”(Gen.3:8-19).
Today we continue with the story of the Fall. When our great, great…grand ancestors ate the fruit and their eyes opened, the first thing that happened to them was, “they realized they were naked…” They tried to hide their nakedness by using leaves to make clothes for themselves.
Culture evolves. Today, wearing of clothes is a social norm portraying decency and couth behaviour, but the first clothing was man’s feeble attempt at covering shame after sinning.
Eden was a place of pure delight until that moment of disobedience. Now after sin, nakedness, shame and guilt and fear came in. When they heard God walking, they hid from him.
Then came the “blame game:”
God to the man: Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Man: The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” A guilty person does not answer the question as asked. The question was not “Who gave you…?”
God to the woman: “What is this you have done?”
Woman: The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Sin exposed our nakedness, it brings shame, and instead of running freely to God, we fear him and hide from his presence. But the worst of our hypocrisy is “the blame game!” Each one of us tries to justify our wrongness by shifting the blame on to others. It is never our faults. The man does not only shift the blame to Eve alone; he blames God for putting the woman with him. This gives the impression that his silence and inaction during the time the serpent and Eve were discussing was deliberate.
Notwithstanding the above, our focus is on grace in the midst of punishment.
God did not give the serpent opportunity to defend himself. And herein there is no travesty of justice. I don’t think even the best lawyers would have defended the serpent favourably.
God “cursed” the serpent for what he did, and he also cursed the ground because of man.
On the overall the punishment was covered in grace. When God created man, he blessed them to be fruitful and increase in numbers and to rule over all creatures(Gen.1:28). After the Fall God did not withdraw this blessing. The woman was to continue in giving birth to children. Her punishment was no punishment at all. It is natural for a woman to have birth pangs at childbirth, it’s only that the pain was to increase. Desire for her husband is also natural and for the man to rule over her was in order since she was created as a helper to the man(Gen.2:20b).
In the same way, the man was to eat through toil – which was not something new as man’s first duty was stewardship of the other creatures(Gen.1:28-30). Man’s added woe is that whereas he was to eat without working like the other creatures, he now had to work before eating.
God reveals plenteous grace in the punishment.
This amazing Grace continued as he clothed them before banishment from the garden.
Sadly for us that banishment brought spiritual death as God placed “cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life”(Gen.3:21-24).
This continuous amazing Grace is the reason for this season of Lent. Through Christ God has opened the way for us to have access to the fruit of that tree of life. Christ is that tree of life. When we own up to our sins, shame and guilt, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence and there we will receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need”(Heb.4:16).
Prayer: Holy Spirit give me the courage to take responsibility for my action and seek for mercy and find grace in my time of need. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.

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