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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lenschow

The First Promise of Hope in the Bible

His Coming Anticipated

Day 1 Sunday, December—The First Promise of Hope

Genesis 3:14-15, emphasis on Genesis 3:15

1. Recognize the Context:

Previous context:

Genesis 1 describes the creation of the universe and everything in it. Chapter 2 then concentrates on the creation of humans, both male and female. Humanity existed in harmony with their Creator, one another, and the entire created order.

In chapter 3, we learn Adam and Eve surrendered to the serpent's temptation. In an instant, everything changed because the first couple disobeyed God's explicit instructions. As a result, their Creator became their Judge. Verses 14-19 outline the consequences of this rebellion for all parties involved, including the serpent, the woman, and the man. The ramifications of this event not only impacted them but subsequent history.

2. Read the Scripture: Genesis 3:14-15, emphasis on verse 15

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

3. Reflect on the Scripture:

Genesis 3:15 might initially appear like an odd place to begin the journey of Advent. Verse 15 is the continuation of the serpent's penalty for its participation in this rebellious act. On the one hand, we can understand the pronouncement against this reptile on a zoological level (verse 14).

However, in verse 15, more appears to be going on as God pronounced enmity between the snake and the woman, and their respective offspring (seed). With the serpent’s prominent role in deceiving the first couple, and the announcements of hostility and attempted mutual destruction between the serpent and woman’s offspring, it appears something more sinister is at work. However, God did not leave humanity in despair. Genesis 3:15 provides the first promise of hope.

The remainder of Genesis develops the story of the woman’s seed, who would bring about a reversal of humanity’s situation. In the context of Genesis 3-5, the seed refers to Eve’s offspring, specifically Seth and his descendants. This theme is traced through Abraham's lineage, including Isaac and Jacob. The remainder of the Old Testament develops God's plan to restore all humanity through one family and nation. The goal was that all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3).

David, a king, anointed by God by the prophet Samuel, led the people of Israel (Abraham’s offspring). Israel, including David and his descendants, struggled to follow God with their whole hearts. God sent prophets to call the people back to himself. These prophets warned of coming judgment for Israel’s rebellion, but they also promised the coming of the Messiah (“anointed one”), who would lead and deliver his people.

In the New Testament, Luke’s genealogy (3:23-38) demonstrates Jesus was the ultimate offspring of the woman in the line of David, Abraham, Seth, and Adam. Through his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and imminent return, Christ would defeat the power of sin, death, and evil. Thus, in doing so, he would ultimately and finally crush the serpent.

4. Relate to life:

Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.

To pray:

Today as you begin this journey of Advent, prayerfully consider how God has initiated the fulfillment of this promise of hope in Jesus the Messiah from Genesis 3.

Today, prayerfully consider the character of God revealed in Genesis 3.

Today, prayerfully consider what Genesis 3 reveals about humanity.

Today, prayerfully reflect on the difference this makes for our world today, both now and in the future? To do: (Actions from faith always with the Holy Spirit’s help)

From your prayerful consideration of God’s character and human character, what is one action step you can take today with the Holy Spirit’s help?

To study: (Make sure to read the context of each passage.)

Read and study Romans 16:19-20. Notice how Paul alluded to the Genesis 3:15 promise and guaranteed its fulfillment.

Read and study Revelation 12 and 20 and see how John made allusions back to the Genesis 3 story. Notice how these chapters relate to the fulfillment of the Genesis 3:15 promise.

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