Day 3 Sacred Season 2015
DAY 3: 11th June The flaming sword Part 2: Genesis 3:1-6; 21-24
Pastor Andy Collins, Newtown Mission, New South Wales
After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24 NIV)
Basis of Union: Paragraph 4. âChrist who is present when he is preached among people is the Word of the God who acquits the guilty, who gives life to the dead and who brings into being what otherwise could not exist
Okay, we know the end of the story, donât we? As a good ole Southern Baptist chorus declares, âIâve read the back of the book and we win!â But still, isnât this the most heart-wrenching verse in the early chapters of Genesis?
Powerful angels and a deadly sword strategically placed to keep Adam and Eve from having access to the tree of life. How quickly things have spiraled downhill. Virtually free access to God and anything else in the Garden. And with them, blessings of fruitfulness and abundance declared over their lives. All gone because of an exchange involving Eve, a talking serpent and a forbidden piece of fruit. The price of sin is costly indeed!
Godâs wonderful plan for His creation was good. Very good! How it must have grieved Him then to have to make things much more difficult for humanity. Declaring instead that life would become one of pain, trial and hard, fruitless work. Cold comfort to be given coats by God: they did little to cover up the shame they now felt.
Verses 21-24 of Genesis 3 are much lesser-known passages than those in the earlier part of the chapter. Here, God dresses Adam and Eve, declares a death sentence on them, and sends them off to a life of hard toil.
If they arenât left wondering whether God will change His mind and let them back in. Mighty cherubim appear, strong and powerful enough to prevent re-entry to the Garden of Eden and access to the Tree of Life. If they should evade the angels, they had no hope against a slashing sword in perpetual motion, ready to take them to an early grave.
Arenât you glad to be living post-Resurrection Sunday? That costly price for sin has been paid in full. Partway through writing this, I spent a wonderful couple of hours in prayer.
As I reflected on Genesis 3:21-24, I rejoiced as I considered how very fortunate we are. No longer in exile from God, wondering if God will change His mind and have mercy on us (Eph 2:1-10). We have the promise that God is always near (Phil 4:5). Blessings of fruitfulness and abundance once again declared over our lives (see John 10:10; 15:5,8,16). We can approach Him freely and confidently (Eph 3:12 and Heb 4:16), and have confidence that He longs to give good things to His dear children (Matt 7:11). And our prayers to Him are like sweet smelling incense before His very throne (Rev 5:8)!
To quote another beautiful hymn of praise:
âThe wonder of wonders,
oh how could it be
That God became flesh and was given for me
The Almighty came down and walked among men
The wonder of wonders,
He died for my sin!â
Father God, how grateful I am that You are rich in mercy. As I reflect on how much our sin hurts You, I am full of awe and wonder that You have made a way for me to come back to You. Lord Jesus, the price You paid was great, but You were so willing to pay it. Holy Spirit, give me the grace, power and words to declare the praises of the One who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous life. In Jesusâ name, I pray. AMEN.
Pray for: a) The Persecuted Church in Africa – especially Somalia, Eritrea, Nigeria
b) Give thanks for the faithful service of many in the Uniting Church over the last three years and particularly those who will mentioned in minutes of appreciation at Assembly
Retiring President Rev Dr Andrew Dutney; Retiring General Secretary, Rev Dr Terence Corkin;
Ms Maureen Postma (Christian Unity Working Group); Rev Dr David Pitman (Worship Working Group)
Rev Dr Kerry Enright (UnitingWorld); Dr Sureka Goringe (UnitingWorld)
Rev Gale Hall (Defence Force Chaplaincy; Rev Seforosa Carroll (Wokring Group on Relations with other Faiths