Today’s reading in my “read it through” devotional plan took me through the Creation/Fall stories of Genesis 1-3. Every year I start a reading plan. I always read these chapters. In fact, I think I’ve done pretty well with the Gospels and Pentateuch. Once we get into the history books with all of the “-ites” and the complex sentence structure of Paul’s arguments, I get bogged down. I don’t have these verses in Genesis memorized, but I know them fairly well. So, I asked God for a “fresh read” on these verses today.
Give me something new, God…
(Funny. God always answers that prayer!)
In Genesis 3, humanity is tempted, fails utterly, and is found guilty. Every issue humanity faced, there was a way out of the sin predicament in which they found themselves. Not being God, they chose what seemed expedient at the time. (Short way to diagnosis if something is sin? “It seemed right…”)
But at the end of the chapter, after being told that they will have to suffer, struggle and experience death and pain, God shows not a final judgment, but mercy.
22 The LORD God said, “The human being has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now so he doesn’t stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever,” 23 the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to farm the fertile land from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the human. To the east of the garden of Eden, he stationed winged creatures wielding flaming swords to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24 Common English Bible)
Beautiful. Lest humanity be completely irretrievable, living forever without an understanding of the consequences of their sin, God protected them from themselves. The only being who lives forever with this kind of knowledge is the devil! that realization stopped me in my tracks.
I have gone through so many roadblocks and “NO” answers from God. Sometimes they have hurt. Other times, it’s been a bit of a relief. Many times, there’s been confusion, particularly when I thought I was listening and following God’s direction.
When the way seems perfectly clear, it often isn’t. Think about that one for a while…
At the start of this new year, I just found it remarkable to think about all those roadblocks… and to be thankful. I can change, grow and choose a new direction. That’s pretty amazing.