Thorns in the Garden (Genesis 3:14-19, Matthew 11:25-30)
Genesis 3:14-19 (NIV)
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he shall crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
When we left the garden, Adam and Eve were dealing with shame and guilt, the emotional fallout of eating from the tree. Today, we will consider the consequences of that sin. The fifth doctrine of The Salvation Army considers the effects of the garden on all of humanity:
We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency, but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.
The story in the garden demonstrates that there are consequences for sin—not just for Adam and Eve—for each of us today, as well.
I heard a story once of a man with an addiction to alcohol. He was married and, with his wife, they raised their children to be hard working, productive, and well-adjusted adults. However, for years he battled an addiction to alcohol and drinking became his solution to all of life’s “bumps in the road.”
When the children were grown and on their own, this man was invited to and began attending the local church. For the first time in his life he encountered the truth of Jesus Christ and he found forgiveness and redemption, and his life was wonderfully transformed. He became active in the congregation, providing volunteer support wherever and whenever he could. However, he was still facing the consequences of his sin. After thirty-five years in a codependent marriage, his wife just couldn’t handle the radical change in his life, and she left him. And all those years of alcohol abuse caught up with him and disease ravaged his body. Though he was forgiven, there were consequences to his years of addiction.
It hardly seems fair. But the lessons we learn from the Adam and Eve narrative this week make two points very clear: there are lasting consequences for our sin; and, our sin naturally requires a Savior. One author puts it this way, “God allows us to suffer consequences for our sin but also He provides salvation from sin’s ultimate consequences.”