Athlete, Pain and Frustration Will End

*This devotional series has been written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 3:14-24 

Do not skim over this passage!  In the first half of chapter 3, Adam and Eve begin to experience death -- their relationships with each other and with God begin to break down, as we read yesterday.  In today's passage, we see more of the early stages of death.  Pain and power struggles within the family enter into the picture.  (Note that 3:16, addressed to Eve, is descriptive of a broken world, not prescriptive for how things should be).  Pain and frustration will now attend the good work of cultivating, caring for, and ruling over the earth (3:17, addressed to Adam).  

BUT notice that God does not utterly abandon or destroy Adam and Eve.  Even though they just tried to take the place of God, He pursues them in their hideout and speaks with them.  This alone is amazing act of grace, or undeserved favor.  But his grace does not stop there.  In 3:15, addressed to the possessed serpent, God promises that He will "crush the head" of the author of evil, even though the serpent will "strike the heel" of Eve's offspring.  The gospel of Luke, chapter 3, traces Jesus' genealogy back to Adam and Eve.  Jesus, Eve's offspring, had his heel struck (i.e. a temporary wound) on the cross, but through his victory over evil and death in the resurrection, Satan's head was crushed (i.e. a final death blow).  Not only does God make this promise about what He will do in the future, He immediately covers Adam and Eve's shame with an animal skin (3:21).  An animal is sacrificed for their sin to provide a temporary covering of their shame, pointing ahead to the cross where Jesus sacrificed himself to provide a permanent covering over their shame and ours.  

Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. How have you seen pain and power struggles play out in your family?  How do you see pain and frustration play out in your work as a student, athlete, etc., and in humanity's calling to care for and rule over the world?

2. Today, are you living in the reality that God moves toward his children in our sin?  Our sin has grave consequences, as we see in Genesis 3, but we also see that God ultimately desires to cover our shame, to restore us to himself, and to restore the goodness of our relationships and work.    

3. Today, what is your ultimate hope?  Is it in something you hope to accomplish or in a human relationship, OR is it in God's promise to crush the evil that exists in us and in the world through Eve's offspring, Jesus?

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