The Consequences of Choices
Devotional Reading: Deuteronomy 30:11-20
Lesson Scripture: Genesis 3:8-17
Lesson Aims: To accept responsibility for our actions; to be alert to Satan’s deceptions; and to recognize that our decisions impact others.
Background: God’s crowning creation was/is humanity (Hebrews 2:6-8)! Made in God’s image (moral, ethical and intellectual abilities), humanity is placed in creation to care for it; to be fruitful; and to have faith in and to obey Him. The creation gives insight into God’s qualities. From nothingness, God made everything orderly, stable and complete. The reader can attest to His power, sovereignty and majesty. He also evaluates, for at the end of every day, He declares His work good. Adam (the first man) was placed in the Garden of Eden with all freedoms but was forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge.
When God created Adam’s helpmate, she was not fashioned from the dust. Instead, God put Adam in a deep sleep, took a rib from him and made her. She is designed to complement and complete man. The helpmate is not inferior, a servant/aide, nor secondary to Adam. God established marriage for them to be harmonious and not ashamed. A large number of scholars believe that Moses probably added this (vs. 24,25) to the narrative because Adam at that point had no concept of family. These verses do not imply severing all ties with each family. Throughout the Old Testament, the extended family plays an important role in society.
God told the man not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (not an apple tree). Even though the woman was not created yet, she is also responsible for obeying God. They are naked and unashamed because of their innocence. As a moral being, each person is responsible for their choices, good or bad. Each choice has its own set of consequences. Life will challenge humanity’s morality. That’s a given, so be on guard. Satan, a fallen angel, used the serpent to make them doubt God! They ate from the tree. Innocence is gone; they cover themselves; and hide from God.
Lesson: God strolls in the garden to commune with man and woman. They fail to recognize that their hiding is in vain. Surely the God of creation knows exactly where they are! So why does He ask? The question is for them to “see” what they’ve done. When God questions, they respond by blaming someone else, including God (Adam). After listening to all they said, God pronounces the consequences of their action. Note that the serpent was not questioned and it offered no justification for its behavior. All three parties pay the price. The serpent is cursed, humiliated and will ultimately be defeated by the woman’s seed. The woman will have great pain in childbearing. Her offspring and that of the serpents will be hostile towards each other. The man will rule over her (patriarchal system). The man received the most extensive sentence. While he worked before, now his labor will be very difficult because the ground was cursed. He will toil to reap a harvest. Because the land was cursed, his stewardship of it will also be difficult.
Application: Because they doubted God and ate, disharmony reigns! Humiliation, domination, subordination, conflict, suffering and struggle became the order of the day. We falsely or conveniently believe that our sins only hurt us. Examine your actions again to recognize their impact on others, the environment and the moral fiber of your community. Before you throw your hands up, look at the text again. God remains in relationship with His creation. His tasks for humanity don’t change. The earth continues to be the source of food. When you get a chance, write down the consequences for your good choices.