Jan 3, 2022

Genesis 3, Matthew 3; Optional Psalm 3, Proverbs 1:10-19

GENESIS 3 – “Genesis” means beginning, and this is a book full of firsts. Gen 3 is the first time worship / intimacy with God is hindered. It’s because of: 1) sin / awareness of their sin and 2) inadequate covering for their sin (because they tried to cover themselves).

Gen 3:1-5 – The serpent (identified in Rev 12:9 with the Devil / Satan) contradicts what God has said. The two lies he gives are still being used to trick us today – 1) sin is not as BAD as you were told (“You will NOT surely die”).  2) God is holding out on you – He’s not as GOOD as you were told. The temptation is the same one Satan still uses – Basically, “Why don’t YOU decide what seems good to YOU?” Remember in chapter 1 that GOD says what is “good” and in 2:18 what is “not good”. But Satan whispers that we can be like God; that WE can know good and evil.

Gen 3:7-13 – Immediate, heartbreaking results of the first human sin: 1) Gen 3:18 – “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God” – separation from God   2) Gen 3:10 – fear / guilt.  3) Gen 3:12-13 – blame. We also find in Rom 5:12 that DEATH entered the world at the same time as human sin, in several ways: 1) Spiritual death. From now on, everyone born of the seed of man is born already “DEAD in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1-5).  2) Their bodies were now decaying, and Gen 5 has the depressing chorus “and he died” over and over.  3) Apparently God did the first sacrifice, and an animal died that day, to provide GOD’S appointed covering (Gen 3:21).

Gen 3:15 – In this dark chapter, don’t miss the first hint of the gospel (the good news that God is sending Someone to handle our sin problem)!  1) We find that the Messiah will be human, from the “seed of woman” (if your translation has “offspring” it’s more literally “seed”). Unique phrase – the early agricultural readers knew well that the MAN contributes the “seed”. Many see hints already of a virgin conceiving, which becomes much clearer in Isaiah 7:14 and unmistakable in Matt 1:20-23, Luke 1:26-37.  2) The One to come will deliver a MORTAL wound to the serpent, but the serpent will also deliver a lesser wound to Him. This of course is fulfilled at the cross and resurrection.

MATTHEW 3 – The chapter ends with God’s voice proclaiming that Jesus is the fulfillment of Gen 3:15 (and the many other prophecies we’ll read) – God’s beloved Son, who came to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15). Key idea in this section – REPENTANCE. This means a U-turn in your THINKING, which ends up with changes in your LIFE / actions (“fruit in keeping with repentance” – Matt 3:8).

Matt 3:7 – “Pharisees and Sadducees” – over time, we’ve so connected Pharisees with words like “hypocrite” that we may miss how highly respected these groups were – they were leaders in their community. Both groups took great pride in belonging to their group (and to being children of Abraham – Matt 3:9). We ALL tend to connect belonging to OUR group as making us the DECENT people, but it’s to these well-respected leaders that John commands to repent and to beware “the wrath to come” (Matt 3:7), “fire / unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:10, 12). This is how God had John prepare the way for Jesus, and it’s the same kind of talk Jesus Himself will use. Are YOU turning from your own way (repentance) to flee the wrath to come, and do YOU talk like this when pointing others to Jesus?

Optional Psalm 3 – Note the historical setting in the title and reflect on the heart-rending pain this would have brought, increased by David’s knowledge that this is part of the long-term consequences of his sin with Bathsheba (see 2 Sam 11-12 for David’s sin and then consequences prophesied – especially 2 Sam 12:10-12; for the sad story of Absalom’s betrayal see 2 Sam 15-18). But even though this agonizing situation was happening as God’s correction, David properly cries out to God for help in the midst of his pain. And the Lord sustained him (Ps 3:5). David correctly turned himself and his cause over to God (see especially Ps 3:7) – see also Jesus’ example of doing this, recorded in 1 Pet 2:23.

Ps 3:8 – “Salvation belongs to the LORD.” – Many have called this the theme of the whole Bible.  And in Psalm 3 we’re reminded that even when painfully aware of our sin and its consequences, God Himself is our only hope.

Optional Proverbs 1:10-19 – In Gen 2:18, God said that it’s “not good” for man to be alone. In Ps 1:1 and this section of Proverbs (and many more), we’re reminded that it also matters greatly who influences us / keeps close company with us. In Prov 1:8-9 we’re told that we SHOULD listen closely to godly counsel / instruction. Here we’re told NOT to listen to the lies that are so similar to the serpent in Gen 3 – making sin sound enticing. God says that the end of sin is judgment and destruction (Prov 1:17-19).