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GEN. 3:14-20 -TRUST IN GOD’S CARE AS YOU FACE THE CONSEQUENCES – Part 2
After last weeks introduction to the text, let’s dig in!
The consequences of sin are detailed in 3:14-19. First, God deals with the serpent. Then He deals with the woman, and finally, the man. God’s judgment on each trespasser (the serpent, the woman, and the man) involved both a life function and a relationship. In each case the punishment corresponded to the nature of the crime.
In 3:14, Moses writes, “The LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life.’” The snake had been “crafty,” but now it was “cursed.” In the Bible, to “curse” means to invoke God’s judgment on someone, usually for some particular offense. It is the opposite of “bless.”
The text says the serpent had to move on its belly. Some commentators take this literally and conclude that the snake had legs before God cursed it. Others take it figuratively, as just a way of saying that the serpent’s downfall would be certain. This is confirmed by the phrase “and dust you will eat all the days of your life.” In the Bible, this describes humiliation and total defeat. Remember that even Indiana Jones feared snakes. Since the fall of man, snakes continue to keep the revolting image of Satan before our eyes. While God cursed all animals and the whole creation because of the fall (Rom 8:20), He made the snake the most despicable of all the animals for its part in the fall.
In 3:15, we have one of the most important verses in the entire Bible: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” The word “enmity” means “hostility and antagonism.” There would be antagonism between the Serpent and human beings. This obviously exists between snakes and people, but God’s intention in this verse seems to include the person behind the snake (Satan) even more than the snake itself.
The “seed” of the Serpent refers to natural humanity whom he has led into rebellion against God. The “seed” of the woman refers to her descendants. Eve’s descendants were the Jewish people. However, the “seed” of the woman also refers to one particular individual, not a whole group of people. It is referring to the Messiah, who would come forth from the Jewish people.
The moment the Serpent delivers a blow to the heel of the Messiah is the same moment in which his head is crushed. Gal. 3:16 - The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
1 John 3:8 - “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
Hebrew 2:14-15 - “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
Here in Hebrew is an indication that Jesus fulfilled the promise, for it is the Messiah who is to be bruised, and yet, in the bruising, destroy the power of death and the devil. By His death, He would “deliver them and free them who all their lives were held in slavery.” That is, there would be a substitutionary death face to face with the devil, and by his death the results of the fall would be overcome!!
The Bible connects the death of Jesus Christ with the defeat of the Devil in: (John 12:21-33). Satan would strike His heel, but the wound would mean that the Son would strike a deathblow to Satan. Jesus suffered a terrible but temporary injury (John 12:31; Col 2:15). Satan only crippled Christ. Christ would deal Satan the fatal blow.
The forces of Satan did not realize that the plan of God would actually be promoted and fulfilled by the death of Christ. God’s curse upon Satan meant that His own Son would one day become a curse for us. Grace is rooted in Christ’s victory.
This first judgment on sin is tinged with hope, something that recurs throughout Scripture, as God’s mercy outweighs His wrath: Exod. 20:5-6 - “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Join us next week as we continue going through the text of Gen. 3:14-20. Blessings to you all.