Written by David Lenehan
Comedian, singer and former member of the Bill Gaither Trio Mark Lawry always has a slightly different way of remembering experiences in his life. He’s a good ole southern boy with a zany sense of humor, particularly about family and church. In of his comedy shows, he talked about his mom, a woman who was a great example of a Christ-follower. According to Mark, she would often share the Gospel message with anybody, pretty much anywhere. He said that his mom once got into a spiritual discussion with another woman at a grocery store. In Mark’s words, she shared the Gospel, “from Genesis all the way through to the maps!” I think you can easily get that picture.
When we stop and think about it, that’s really the testimony of the entire Bible. All of God’s Word, every chapter and verse tells the Gospel story, points to Jesus and reminds us of God’s incredible gifts of grace, love, mercy, wisdom and forgiveness. A local pastor brought that to mind when talking about Adam and Eve’s encounter with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Here are a few verses of that story from Genesis 2 & 3:
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Gen. 2:15-17, NIV)
“Now the serpentwas more crafty than any of the wild animals theLordGod had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:1-5, NIV)
The serpent was definitely as crafty as Scripture describes him. Satan doesn’t tell Adam & Eve to turn their backs on God, but rather seeks to change their view of Him. John Piper describes it this way, “when Satan tempts Adam & Eve, he essentially says, ‘God is holding out on you; you can’t trust him.’ He put doubt in their minds about God.” The serpent was telling them that God wasn’t giving them the whole story, that they were missing out on something bigger that God refused to give them.
You know the rest: Eve eats the forbidden fruit, Adam eats it, too. Then they realize they are naked and are ashamed.
God comes by later and seeks them out. They’re afraid. They hide. Then God confronts them and their sin and sets out His punishment. But He doesn’t leave matters there. God does something that actually takes one verse in Genesis and catapults it straight to the Gospels. Don’t miss this.
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21, NIV)
When God provides animal skins for Adam & Eve, he is setting the example of offering up an innocent’s blood to cover the wrongs of others. And much like the animal skins covered Adam and Eve physically, Jesus is our covering for our sins. The animals paid the price to cover Adam & Eve’s nakedness. Jesus paid the ultimate price for my sin, for yours. Jesus IS the covering for our shame, our brokenness.
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10, NIV).
Yes, the message of ALL of Scripture, of the entire Bible is consistent, strong and clear. From the very beginning of man’s existence, God has always had a plan to save each and every one of us. Yes, He has to remind mankind of that over and over across the centuries. But the truth is unmistakable. Our sins are covered, are washed cleaned by the sacrifice of God’s Only Son. As you go through the rest of this summer, keep that amazingly wonderful and glorious thought in the back of your mind….and praise God often for his “indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).
P.S. if you have them in your Bible, don’t ignore the maps in the back. They are a valuable resource for both Old and New Testament studies.