If Genesis 1-3 were a play, there would be four scenes to the plot.[1] First, there is creation where God the great Artist creates everything from nothing. Second, there is jubilation where God meets Adam’s need of a helper by making Eve for him and the first family exists happy and content in the garden. Third, there is temptation where we see the crafty serpent come to deceive our first parents in the taking of the forbidden fruit. And fourth, there is confrontation where God comes in judgment against the serpent, the woman, and the man. Through these four scenes a great momentum is built, but notice it is not a momentum of progression where the story gets better, it is a momentum of degression where the story devolves into further and further chaos. Such is the sad story of Genesis 3 after the bliss of Genesis 1-2. But remember and be of good cheer Church, God is the infallible author of this play, and only He can craft a story where the beginning is perfect and the end is better. Even here in the darkness of chapter 3 we see hints of great light shining through.

Our passage this morning is Genesis 3:8-15, see our first heading in v8…

Hiding (v8)

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

After the deed was done in v6-7, the very next thing we read of is them hearing the sound of God walking in the garden. The way v8 is phrased seems to suggest a pattern. That God walking in the garden was not an unusual event, but rather a frequent occurrence. If this is the case that means walking with the Lord was something Adam and Eve did often with God in their life together in the garden.[2] Which is likely why from this point on we hear the verbiage of ‘walking with God’ throughout Scripture. This is how Enoch is described in Gen. 5, this is how Noah is described in Gen. 6, Abraham is called to walk with God in Gen. 17, and on and on. We even hear of God walking with His people if they obey Him in Lev. 26 where God says, “If you walk in My statutes and observe My commandments, and do them…I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people” (Lev. 26:3, 12). All of this suggests a pattern between God and His people, that from the very beginning He delights to be with His people, and walk with them in life.[3]

Now I’m saying this pattern of God walking with His people, began in the garden with Adam and Eve, yet sadly here before us in v8 we see the pattern broken. They had walked with God in the garden and enjoyed His presence before, but now, as soon as they hear the sound (literally the voice) of God drawing near, they hide. What was once a sacred sound to their souls, this time the sound of the Lord fills them with dread and they hide.[4] Which is beginning to be something of a new pattern for them isn’t it?[5] They had just hidden themselves from one another with fig leaves after eating the fruit in v7, now they hide from God in v8. What makes this all the more weighty is that the Hebrew word for presence in v8, “…the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God…” this word is the word face Hebrew. They heard His voice calling and they hid themselves from the very face of God.

Lesson? For fallen man in the guilt and shame and weight of sin, concealment is the new normal. Does this surprise anyone? It shouldn’t because this is what we do. It is said that someone who can easily hide their true feelings, thoughts, or emotions has a good poker face. On one hand I think that’s true, many are very good at hiding a storm within and you’d never know it on their face. But on the other hand I want to call their bluff, because I think sin can so plague the soul that eventually the poker face becomes impossible to keep up. Does this describe you? Have you developed a poker face when it comes to our own sin? Have you grown so accustomed to hiding who you really are and what you’re really into that words like phony, fake, and fraud describe you accurately? Does your mouth preach a good sermon while your life preaches a contradictory message? Learn here from our first parents. You can hide from other people, for years, you can hide in plain sight. Eventually it’ll give way and break you, hurting yourself and others in the process. But more pointed is this: you can hide from others for a time, but you can never hide from God. He’s God! He sees all, He knows all, and He isn’t deceived by our deception.

Many hide today, are you? It’s all too convenient to sleep in on Sunday if you know you might be called out by God in the sermon as His Word goes forth.

But, my oh my, hide as we may, there is great hope in being found by God. Look at the next heading in v9-13…

Questioning (v9-13)

“But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Here in v9 we find the first words of God to fallen man, and do not miss, it’s full of grace. God comes asking a question. Be sure though, God’s not asking this question in order to gain a knowledge of something He does not have. God is omniscient, all-knowing, nothing could ever enter into His mind that did not originate from His mind in the first place. God is asking this question not for His own benefit but for Adam’s benefit. God could’ve come in angry and wrathful, and man would’ve deserved it, but God doesn’t do that. By asking the question “Where are you?” God is drawing them out of their sin instead of driving them out.[6] How gracious of God to do so.

Adam responds in v10 with a half-truth. He admits he was afraid when he heard the sound (or voice) of God in the garden, but the reason he gives is his nakedness. Which isn’t true, totally. He is naked, and he is ashamed of his nakedness, but the reason Adam’s afraid of God is because he’s disobeyed God. That is why he’s hiding from God. God responds to this, seeing through Adam’s half-truth by asking in v11, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” God asks two more questions here, they’re linked together and they don’t require careful thought to answer. The obvious answer to the first question is themselves, they knew they were naked the moment they ate the fruit, they didn’t need anyone to tell them this. Which leads to the obvious answer to the second question, yes they did eat from the tree. Their eating has led to their awareness of their own condition.

After these questions in v11 Adam clearly has nothing else to do but confess. But he doesn’t. His response in v12 is as exposing of his own selfish heart as it is astonishing to see where he places the blame. He admits that he ate the fruit, but it’s not really his fault in v12, see that? He not only points to the woman who gave him the fruit to eat, he points to God who gave him the woman in the first place. To call this blame shifting is accurate, I’d go further and call this blasphemy, to put the blame on God for giving this woman to him in the first place. The consequences of sin are heavy. By his own doing Adam is now set against the woman he once praised, and is now alienated from the God he once enjoyed the company of.[7] By saying it like this Adam is blaspheming, basically saying if God were better He would have given him a better woman who wouldn’t have led him into sin. Which is an awful lot like the serpent who basically said a better God wouldn’t hold them back from any tree in the garden.[8] So rather than turning away from his sins and humbly confessing to God Adam adds sin onto sin by denying any responsibility and playing the victim, as if he were the chief party wronged in this whole mess.

Notice God doesn’t respond to Adam at all. Instead He turns to Eve and says in v13, “What is this you have done?” She says, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Many believe Eve is also blame shifting here like Adam did. But notice, while she does mention the serpent first before anything else, she does not blame God saying ‘the serpent you made’ or blame Adam saying ‘my husband didn’t lead me or defend me.’ She says none of this, while Adam did both of those things. In this, while still at fault clearly, Eve does much better than Adam in her response, honestly admitting she bought the lie presented to her.[9]

Church, this passage would not only call you out of hiding in sin as we’ve seen, but here this passage confronts us. Adam and Eve are confronted by God here, and I want to ask this: are any of you confronted by God in this confrontation? Do you feel the searching eye of God on you? Do you hear voice of God questioning you as you hear His words here? He could have severely disciplined our first parents in wrathful anger for their disobedience, but He came with questions, gently drawing them out of their folly and sin. If you’re hiding in sin and afraid of God today, this is good news. You need to see God in grace slowly alluring His people back to Him. And you need to know He can do the same with you. Yes, Adam and Eve royally messed up here, and you might’ve done the same. Do you know God desires to draw you out of your mess and make you whole in Him? The sinfulness of sin is vile, but the grace of God in the gospel in stronger.

Where do we see this strength brightly in Gen. 3? See our final heading in v14-15…

Cursing (v14-15)

“The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

First, note the authority of God as He speaks to the serpent. How boastful had the serpent been? With such unbridled confidence he had promised they could be like God if they ate the fruit. In doing so did he not make himself to be God? Didn’t he give Eve the impression that his words were true while God’s Words were false? But how strange is it to see this tempter able to do nothing but listen to God cursing him? Where are his bold words now? Where is his confidence, power, and wisdom hiding? Not a word flows from his mouth as the Judge of all the earth pronounces him to be cursed! God is only God, He will not give His glory to another, and no one is His equal. Sure Satan may be wise, wiser than us, and his wisdom may overwhelm us, but his wisdom is a drop of water compared to ocean of God’s wisdom. Here we see that Satan the creature is no match for God the Creator. For Satan this is the most humiliating moment of his entire existence, “for he hears his doom uttered with infallible authority.”[10]

Second, note that this one verse embraces all that is noble and glorious that is to be found in the Scriptures. Adam and Eve plunged themselves into death and darkness by believing the serpent and eating the fruit. They as our first parents therefore plunged the whole of mankind into death and darkness from such evil. It is now natural and normal for us to call good evil and evil good. All of mankind now finds himself in need of life, light, and rescue, and in this verse God promises that very thing! There is no enmity or hatred between the serpent and mankind, but God will place it there. Between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman, enmity will exist. Adam and Eve had seen the serpent as his friend and God has his enemy. They were willing to listen to his words and ignore God’s. They must learn the opposite – that God is their friend and His Word alone is to be trusted. Because God said, “I will place enmity” between these two parties for all time, meaning Adam and Eve can now never be at peace with the serpent or the sin he seeks to ensnare us in.

Third, note the Person in view in Genesis 3:15b, “…He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Just as the man and woman were to be at enmity with the serpent so also will her seed (their descendants) and the serpents seed be at enemies. What does ‘the woman’s seed’ mean? Is it referring to one individual or is it referring to all those who descend from Eve? In the early Christian Church most believed there is here a specific reference to the ‘Seed’ of the woman, Jesus Christ. Ironic, that the snake who was more crafty than any other beast, is now more cursed than any other beast as well.[11] Ironic, that he who tempted Eve to eat, will now eat dust.[12] Ironic, that though the serpent was the undoing of the woman, it is through the woman that God will bring about the undoing of the serpent.[13] It is interesting to note that as the centuries progressed, and especially after the enlightenment many began to move away from that view saying there cannot possibly be such a reference of Jesus Christ in so early an OT book. But in the OT there is a remarkable progression of God’s revelation of the truth concerning the Messiah to come. And the starting point for all of the prophecies about Him is Genesis 3:15, where we see for the first time, the promise that one of the Descendants of the woman will come and end the work of the serpent. People have rightly called this verse the ‘protoevangelium’ or the ‘first-gospel’ because Genesis 3:15 is the first place in the Bible where we get an explicit promise of what Christ will be like and will do. We know from this verse the ‘Seed’ of the woman will do work that will crush the serpent’s work, and the result of this work is that the serpent shall receive a fatal blow, while the ‘Seed’ of the woman receives a non-fatal blow to His heel. Of course this is mentioning the entire life of Jesus. His birth, His life, His ministry, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension. The man and the woman are now in need of redemption, and in this Descendant God will provide everything we need.

Fourth, the consequences flowing out of Genesis 3:15 are massive. Even in the midst of such blatant defiance, death, and darkness, God is there to give grace to His people. It is astonishing, almost unbelievable that God will not allow man to perish but is determined to bring rescue. Much is still dark, true. We do not see with clarity as we do now. This gracious promise becomes an organizing theme for the rest of Scripture and the rest of human history. Every character and every event find their place in relation to the great battle that now unfolds between the conquering ‘Seed’ of the woman and the devilish seed of the serpent.

In the midst of one the darkest chapters in the whole Bible, we see the light of the gospel breaking forth.

[1] James Montgomery Boice, Genesis 1-11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1982), 193.

[2] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, WBC (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987), 76.

[3] Kenneth A. Matthews, Genesis 1-11:26, NAC (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H, 1996), 239.

[4] R. Kent Hughes, Genesis, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2004), 77.

[5] Victor P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, NICOT (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1990), 192.

[6] Derek Kidner, Genesis (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008), 74.

[7] Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 77.

[8] Hughes, Genesis, 79.

[9] Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, 194.

[10] Said to be from E.J. Young.

[11] Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 78.

[12] Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, 196.

[13] Matthews, Genesis 1-11:26, 245.

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