Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Advent Devotional December 18, 2013

The Rev. Jason Clapper '11, Pastor, Lavonia Presbyterian Church, Lavonia, Ga.

Scripture

Genesis 3:8-15

8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent tricked me, and I ate." 14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel."

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Devotional

Some claim to find tension in the views of God that are portrayed in the Old Testament versus the New Testament, but our passages today reminds us that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). God is and always has been a God of grace. In the passage in Genesis, Adam and Eve have just sinned against God. It is clear that God is not happy. Yet, when we look deeper, we find a glimpse of the grace of Jesus Christ. Despite dispensing judgment, God also offers a promise. His final words to his people are not a no, but a yes: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Some have called this verse the “protoevangelium” or “The first Gospel,” a promise of Jesus who is to come. When we are faced with our own sin in the light of God’s righteousness, let us remember that God walked with us in the cool of the garden, witnessing to the incarnate Jesus, the baby that we are awaiting this Advent season, who came to walk among us once again.

Prayer

God of the garden, You are the same yesterday, today, and forever; You have created us to be with you. Thank you for your grace which makes this possible despite ourselves. Amen.