Devo Scripture: Genesis 3:8-13, 20-24
Key Verse: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Lately I’ve been on a quest. A quest…for the ugly-beautiful. That moment, that experience, that point in time when the hideous heart of a sinner (me) meets the merciful presence of a gentle most excellent Savior. That moment when patience is gone and anger threatens to overtake when you remember his mercy and grace and surrender. Calm. Peace. Control. He makes all things beautiful. Even me. It’s the ugly-beautiful. It’s the presence of a loving and patient Savior who waits…waits to be invited into the moment. To touch. To refine. To make it beautiful. It is HE that can take an unworthy moment and make it worthy. It is HE that can take a disgraceful attitude and fill it with grace. A dreadful situation can turn sweet and dare I say delightful when the presence of the Glorious One is invited in. It’s the ugly-beautiful. It’s our mistakes. It’s HIS forgiveness. It’s our surrender. And HIS working it for good. And it’s all because of his never-ending, new every morning, ever-flowing mercy.
Mercy – Not receiving the punishment deserved. To authentically know God is to know him as the Merciful One. Adam and Eve knew not of his mercy until that fateful day. The day they hid. Scared. Desperate for cover. They knew they were naked. They felt shame for the first time. Shame is ugly. So they hid. I would have hid too. I still try to hide. And so do my kids. We don’t like when our sin is exposed. But every time I try to hide Jesus calls for me. Stacey, where are you? (He knows where I am.) But he is so…so merciful. Adam, where are you? (He knew where he was.) But mercy spilled forth. God had every right to strike them dead. Every right to scream at them, “You ruined everything! How could you? How dare you turn against me!” But he didn’t. Not even close. He simply questioned in hopes of a confession. Why a confession? Because he is merciful and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He wants to forgive.
I can’t help but wonder if Adam and Eve saw an immediate difference in their surroundings. When sin entered the world so did death (Rom. 5:12). Did Adam nudge Eve wide eyed because the fig leaves were wilting? Was any of the surrounding radiance muted? Did the animals suddenly run wild with fear? As they hid did they witness a hawk dive on a dove? Death. Though not physically immediate for Adam and Eve, they still felt it. For God views death as separation not termination. And now…now they were separated from God because he is always constantly holy. I wonder what they sewed the fig leaves with. Did it take a while? Whose idea was it?
Fig leaves. Sounds silly doesn’t it? But haven’t we all tried to sew fig leaves? Haven’t we all tried to take care of the mess ourselves? Cover it. Fix it. On my own with no help from God. Yes, I’ve sewn some fig leaves. And it just doesn’t work. When I try to fix the mess myself it gets…messier. But He doesn’t laugh. He doesn’t desert me. He waits until I’m ready. And then he reminds me I’m covered with HIS blood. I don’t need to sew fig leaves. I’m covered with HIS righteousness. Mercy…He is so…so merciful. He made them garments of skins and clothed them. He cared for them. But if there were garments of skin then there was sacrifice. There was blood. For “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). So HE did the sacrifice himself knowing…KNOWING…one day very soon it would be his OWN blood. His blood would flow so we could be clothed with righteousness. “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). Thank goodness I don’t need to sew fig leaves. Mercy…He is so…so merciful.
And then he made them leave the garden. He forced them out and placed not only cherubim but a flaming sword to keep them out. Why? Why would he do this? It would be HARD outside the garden. HARD! This doesn’t seem very merciful. But it was incredibly merciful. (Sometimes mercy hides in God’s “No”) If they stayed in the garden they very well might have eaten from the tree of life and lived forever separated from God. Forever in sin. Forever in a flesh always dying yet never dead. A horrific thought! So he drove them out away from the tree of life until a day they (and we) can eat of it in righteousness. And there will certainly be a day! (Revelation 22:2)
This God…the God of Genesis 3…he is still the same God. He is still merciful. And his mercies will never cease, not ever. They are new every. single. morning. Praise be to the God who overflows with mercy!
Contemplate and Evaluate:
- Have you experienced God’s mercy? If not I encourage you to humble yourself before him right now (we’re never guaranteed another moment) and experience his all-powerful grace and forgiveness.
- God tells us to be merciful even as he is merciful (Luke 6:36). Is mercy easy or hard for you? How can you practice mercy today?
Next Week: Genesis 3:14-19 The consequences…