Week 1, Day 7

READ: Genesis 3-4, picking right up where we left off yesterday. 🙂

3:1 – See how Satan lies? He twists the promises and the words of God.
2 – When Eve is tempted, something very interesting happens. She both takes away from and adds to the promises of God. God said, “You may freely eat!” and Eve told the serpent, “We may eat.” God said, “You may not eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” and Eve told the serpent, “We can’t eat from it or even touch it…”  It’s easy to do this when we get tempted. It’s easy to justify our sin by making God’s gifts out to be less than they are and by making his commands out to be more burdensome than they are.
15 – This is talking about Jesus. It is the 1st mention of God’s grand plan to restore humanity, now broken off by sin, to relationship with him.
16 – This is a really interesting verse. I think many people, even within the church, believe that male dominance is a part of God’s design, and that men were created to be rulers over women. A close reading of Genesis 3:16, though, seems to indicate that this wasn’t the original way that we were created. Instead, like difficulty in growing crops and increased pain in childbirth and death, the fact that the husband will rule over the wife is a result of the curse. It is an observation about the way things are in a broken world.
24 – The Tree of Life is in Heaven. See Revelation 2:7
4:3-4 – God didn’t accept Abel’s offerings and reject Cain’s because he really likes steak and hates his fruits & veggies. It was an attitude thing. Abel brought God the first and best. Cain brought him the leftovers.
19 – This is the 1st time where God’s design for marriage gets messed up. Sadly, it isn’t the last.

THINK:  When my wife was a little girl she had some difficulty potty training. She got to the point where she knew that she needed to go, but she wasn’t ready to go on the toilet yet. So, instead, she would go and hide behind the recliner in her living room to fill her diaper. And if her parents saw her back there and asked, “Jenny, what are you doing?” or tried to approach her, she would defiantly reply, “Go ‘way!” Now, on some level I think that all of us can relate to the desire to do our business in peace. But I don’t think that mindset fully captures what was going on in Jenny’s head when she hid behind the recliner. She hid because, on some level, she was ashamed. She told people to “Go ‘way!” because she was embarrassed. I see the same emotion in our 2 year-old as he is potty training whenever he has an accident.

Shame causes us to hide. When we mess up or we don’t measure up then we just want to disappear. We don’t want anybody to know. We hide from God. We hide from our parents and our friends. And our pastors! I know this one is true from experience with some of my close friends and experience in ministry. Sometimes people make mistakes and then they quit coming to church and it’s not because they don’t believe but instead it’s because they feel like they’ve messed up too badly and they carry so much shame that they don’t feel like they deserve to be in church. Or to be around their friends who love them. Shame is so powerful! And we all experience it. We all mess up really badly from time to time in ways that make us want to hide.

That’s what happened to Adam & Eve. After they ate the fruit they hid from God. They hid because they were naked and they were ashamed. Notice that in Genesis 2:25 they were naked but not ashamed. They had nothing to be ashamed of. But then they sinned. They rejected and disobeyed God and they introduced brokenness into the world. And they were ashamed so they tried to hide from God. And of course, God being God and all, it didn’t work out and he found them. But I really want you to understand something in his response. There were serious consequences for their rebellion. Death, banishment from the Garden of Eden, and more. But those consequences came because God is sinless and perfect and he is a God of justice. But he is not a God of shame! Reread verse 21 of chapter 3. What does God do? He clothes them. God covers their shame. And he covers it way better than they could (i.e. with a few leaves).

He does the same for you and for me. There will inevitably be consequences for our sins. But we don’t need to hide in our shame. From anyone. But especially not from God. He covered Adam & Eve’s shame in the garden and he covered your shame and mine shame on the cross. And he is inviting us to be set free from shame so that we can have intimate relationships with him without feeling the need to hide – no matter how badly we’ve messed up.

ASK:  Am I hiding from God or from others right now because I feel unworthy? What does it mean for my relationships with other people – both believers and non-believers – that God is not a God of shame?

2 responses »

  1. Katerina Fager says:

    Can you rephrase the last question in the ask colum: What does it mean in my relationship that God is not a God of shame.

    • maddogs83 says:

      Yep. It was kind of confusing the way it was worded. What I was getting at was: If God isn’t a God of shame – if shame isn’t the way that he operates – then how does that change the way I interact with others? When people do wrong – to me or to others – how do I approach them in the way that God would approach them? How do I lovingly confront the wrong that was done and even impose consequences without shaming the person or making them feel less than human? And, as I think about my view and understanding of God – and how he looks at me when I sin – does it change my God-picture and my understanding of him to know that he isn’t a God of shame?

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