Advent: A Seed of Suspicion, A Seed of Promise

The first sin was met by the first promise.
First Sin Meets First Promise

Not one seed, but two were sown in the Garden of Eden on that fateful day when “In Adam’s Fall We Sinned All.”

The serpent planted a seed of suspicion, tiny but fertile. How would God respond to its fruit–the first sin? With rage and indignation? With weed killer, immediately applied? No. Quietly God himself sowed the second seed, a promise of salvation.

This post is a meditation on our first Advent sermon, First Sin, First Promise, preached by Mark Lauterbach at Rincon Mountain Presbyterian Church.

A Seed of Suspicion

Have you ever noticed how easily we lose trust in those around us? You see a credit card charge from an unknown website and are immediately concerned. Have you been hacked or could this have come from your own household? Your son assures you that he aced a recent test. You nod and quietly check his backpack. The boss announces a pay raise in the coming year, and you inwardly scoff, we’ll see how that pans out.

We tell ourselves, we’re not jaded, we’re just realistic. So we check our expectations as well as our kid’s homework. Skepticism laces our hope of the promised pay raise. Suspicion tweaks us, turning us all into private investigators. Don’t be naive, we caution ourselves, you’ve been around this block before.

On one hand, this is simply wisdom. In a world populated by sinners–including you and me–it’s prudent to take words and actions with a grain of salt. We’re a mixed bag, every one of us. Earnest words can be used to mask empty promises. After all, we can even sweet talk ourselves into breaking our word.

But that leaves us with one question, who can you trust these days?

Who Can You Trust?

In God We Trust proclaims the inscription on our coins and paper alike. But sometimes we wonder. Things aren’t going so well in my life right now. Maybe God’s busy or maybe he’s taking a nap or maybe he just doesn’t care…

The serpent’s attack is sneaky. Wanting to undermine their trust, he simply questions God’s words. Like a prosecuting attorney, he’s not looking for answers, but seeking to badger the witness. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Genesis 3:1

His question doesn’t impart information, it implants doubt. He insinuates, God is sneaky, you can’t trust him. God is stingy, you shouldn’t expect much from him. The serpent’s poison infects us all. “We twitch into suspicion” was the pastor’s commentary.

I am easily “twitched into suspicion.” Recently, I’ve developed a foot problem which has morphed into a back problem. I find that I’ve begun to expect the worst–for “the problem” to continue up my body until I finally have a head problem! This morning I realized I need to take a stand against the serpent’s poison, and affirm God’s goodness both out loud and on paper. So I prayed, You are good, Lord, and your Providence is always for my good. Help me today to take a stand against the serpent’s lies.

A Seed of Unbelief

You see, suspicion always leads to unbelief. That’s why it’s so important to stand against it. And unbelief attacks God’s character, painting a caricature of him, much like a cartoonist produces of his political opponent.

Like Eve, we begin to twist God’s words, exaggerating his commands. We turn him into an ogre, a monster who’s out to spoil our fun and then eat us for dinner. It’s easy to mock this ‘god of our own creation.’ And it’s easy to dismiss him, too. What right has this ogre to tell me what to do?

That’s why we must counter our counterfeit of God with the truth of Scripture. This morning God’s Word gave me the words I needed to fight my own battle with discouragement. They came from Psalm 119:68, “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” These words strengthened me to pray on their basis:

Lord, you are good and do good. Your commandments are for my good; they protect me from myself. Enable me by your Spirit to believe and obey your Word.

Lord, you are good and do good. Your commandments are for my good; they protect me from myself. Enable me by your Spirit to believe and obey your Word.

A Seed of Promise

God didn’t leave Adam and Eve covered with fig leaves and bowed in shame that fateful day. He came and looked for them, which was the first mercy. He called them to take responsibility, the second mercy. But then he made them a promise, which was pure grace.

God’s promises always surprise us, because by them he puts himself in our debt. Of course, our sin puts us in his debt, owing him far more than we could ever pay. That’s why his promise is so surprising. It is both gracious (he owes us nothing but judgment) and sure (he can and will pay our debt above and beyond what we owe). What surprising thing did he promise these two–and all their children?

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15).”

  • The Seed of the Woman–an unusual phrase in patriarchal society, A woman had brought us down, and a woman would bear the deliverer. Paul talks about this in Galatians 4:4.
  • The War of the Ages–the fierce fighting between Satan and God through their descendants. Paul expounds on our equipping for the fight in Ephesians 6:10-20
  • The Mortal Blow–the promise of Satan’s ultimate defeat by the Seed of the woman, fulfilled at the cross of Christ, Hebrews 2:14-15, and finalized at the second coming of Christ, Romans 16:20

So much truth in so few words. Take this seed of promise and bury it deep in your heart today.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

Genesis 3:15

God pursues us, not to expose us, but to proclaim the enemy’s defeat. God calls us to account, not to shame us, but to clothe us in Christ.

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One comment on “Advent: A Seed of Suspicion, A Seed of Promise

  1. The reminder of suspicion is pertinent to me today. When in pain, I cower and doubt God’s goodness. I pray He breaks your foot and back problem. He is good and one day all things shall be made new. We cling to hope!