Today I read through Genesis 3 & 4, among other passages, but these two stuck out and spoke the most to me. Besides the book of Genesis being one of my favorite books in the bible, because you can really see the character of God through the chapters and amidst our sin.. but, I'm jumping too far forward. We'll get there. I simply wanted to share a few thoughts on some passages that stood out to me and screamed "God, friend of sinners".
The Man and Woman Sin
1 "The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.
3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.
5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.
7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Mistrusting God was what ultimately lead to the first sin. The woman (Eve) ultimately trusted the enemy and his way over the way of God. Ultimately, Eve placed her trust in the lies of the enemy rather than the truths of God. This shows how important it is that we trust God and how unfortunate our reality becomes when we don't.
12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”
You se one of the first fruits of sin here - blame and lack of personal accountability. Here, man (Adam) denies his personal choice and decision to also eat the forbidden fruit, and rather blames his sin on woman. Woman, (Eve) does the same and places and blames her sin on the serpent rather than taking responsibility for her choice as well. We see how blame and lack of personal accountability becomes a downward spiral and creates an environment of displacement when it comes to taking responsibility for ourselves and our choices.
21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
Here you see God caring for humanity even though they had just chosen the way of the enemy over Himself. God is already showing His fallen creation grace (reference v. 15 - lineage of Christ).
22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings[a] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
I love in verse 22 you see the implication of the trinity - Father, Son & Holy Spirit. I also love the "exclamation" seen in verse 22. God cares so deeply and personally about humanity that He banned man and woman, kicked from the garden - away from the tree of life. The thought of humanity living in sin for eternity was not a the reality God was willing to accept. At this moment, you see that God would rather give Himself for us than to not have us at all. Having us for eternity is more precious to Him than having us with Him in the garden in that moment. He sacrificed His own desire of having us in the garden with him for the betterment of our future - here you begin to see the selflessness of God.
1 Now Adam[a] had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced[b] a man!”
Within their sin, humanity still gave God the glory for good gifts and for life.
3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift,
Cain presented "some" of what he had in contrast to Abel bringing a "gift" - the "best" portions of his labor. Here you see the difference in posture between the two brothers when it came to their hearts and what they were willing to bring to the Lord. I think we can all figure out what this means with no further explanation.
8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.”[a] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.
9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?”
“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”
10 But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! 11 Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. 12 No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.”
13 Cain replied to the Lord, “My punishment[b] is too great for me to bear! 14 You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!”
15 The Lord replied, “No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him.16 So Cain left the Lord’s presence and settled in the land of Nod,[c] east of Eden.
You still see grace and love within the character of God, even within His justice towards Cain's sin.
Despite the distrust, reckless decisions, and poor character we see in Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel - we still see the grace, justness, and sacrificial love of God towards His creation. Despite the fact that humanity ultimately decided to turn their back on their Father, their Father still chose, watched over, and provided for His children.
We are Adam and Eve. We are Cain and Abel. We are reckless, untrustworthy, distrustful and poor in character. But in God, we are none of these things. In God we restored to who we once were supposed to be – co-heirs and beloved children. We are loved, trustworthy, and rich in character. We see in Genesis 3 and 4 that despite who we are, our God is the friend of sinners. Our God is a friend of humanity. Our God is the friend of us. That the goodness of God doesn't rest upon who we are, but who He has always been.