Lesson 2: The OLD TESTAMENT and CHRISTMAS
In the beginning, Adam and Eve stand together, naked and unashamed before God and each other. In the truest sense, Eve’s life is “ravel-free” and full of peace. Then everything changes. She listens to the serpent, doubts God’s promise given to her husband and is deceived by the serpent to the point of offering the fruit to her husband. The promise of “enlightenment” is a tragic crash into the darkness! (To refresh your memory, read Genesis 1 – 3.)
Together, our first parents scramble to sew fig leaves to cover their lives to keep them from falling apart. Where in the world of Eden would you find needle and thread to take on the role of “tailor” and sew your lives together? Yet they are within the sovereign purposes of God. They had it so good in the Eden of innocence! Then life falls apart. Their clumsy fingers and inadequate fabric (fig leaves?) only make their state look worse.
Can you hear the steps of God, crunching the leaves so recently fallen on the path, as He looks for the lost, crying, “Where are you?” Do you hear the scream of the slaughtered animal in the silence of Eden as its throat is cut, blood is shed and skin is used as the first garments to cover nakedness? Can you see the flaming swords that now keep the man and his wife out of the holy presence – the Shekinah glory of God on earth? Do you hear the curses upon the serpent, the woman, the man?
DAY ONE: The Need for Redemption
Outside of the garden is not the prettiest place to start! Here in that world, a problem exists. If you are tempted to sing sentimental songs like O Little Town of Bethlehem, remind yourself that Jesus’ humble beginnings in a crude cave and makeshift bassinet bear one compelling motive: He HAD to come to seek and save the lost!
No clear understanding of the Christmas story can begin without a visit to these true beginnings. At least 4,000 years or more before the Savior comes, the mother of humankind, Eve, faced a bleak future.
Read Genesis 2:19 – 3:7. In your own words, describe the events that lead to the need for God’s grand redemption: the depravity of man and the shedding of blood.
The event of partnership:
- What blessing did Eve bring to Adam? How would she have known what God had said about the tree in the middle of the garden?
- What went wrong between the statements of Gen. 2:24, 25 and Gen. 3:6? In your own words, how might you suppose this happened?
The curses of sin:
- Upon each participant:
- upon the serpent (Gen. 3:14-15)
- upon the woman (Gen. 3:16 )
- upon the man (Gen. 3:17-19)
- With the defense of blame – who blames who for what?
- Adam blames…
- Eve blames…
- The serpent doesn’t have a leg to stand on…!!!
- Who is really to blame in all of this mess?
- With all given the promise, “In the day you eat….you will surely die…”, what GRACE does God show these two first children of His?
DAY TWO: The First Promise of Christmas
We rightly say at this point: “What a waste! Where hope is there? What future is there for the human race?” Then we remember Genesis 3:15. Hidden in the curse upon the serpent lies God’s grand statement of hope for mankind: the first promise of Christmas.
Now turn the page!
Like so many things God does and will do throughout Scripture, He transforms what is meant for evil, to work for good. It is at the heart of our need for redemption and is seminal to the future of the human race.
Read Genesis 3:14-15 and answer the following questions:
- Explain the “enmity” that exists between the serpent (Satan) and the woman and her offspring and Satan’s offspring? (Don’t forget, when Jesus spoke harshly to the religious leaders in His day, He told them, “you are of your father the devil!”)
- Describe the grand and glorious promise God makes in Gen. 3:15b when He says “He (the seed of the woman) will crush your (Satan’s) head and you will strike His heal!” What do you understand God to be saying to Satan?
- Read and comment on Galatians 4:4 to find out the ultimate fulfillment of this promise. (Remember, every prophetic statement has three aspects: an immediate fulfillment, a near future fulfillment and a far future fulfillment.) Gen.4:25 may be Eve’s understanding of the LORD’S immediate fulfillment to her: sadness of personal sin and the loss of her son, Abel, by murder.
DAY THREE: The Meaning of Eve
Eve is a crucial figure in both human history and redemption history. That means her physical ‘seed’ would be the grand crusher of Satan’s head. It also means that this great ‘redeemer’ to come, will satisfy God’s just demands on her sin and Adam’s: someone (not an animal) must die in order to provide eternal clothing for the spiritually naked.
So, Eve is called the mother of the living and not the mother of the dying – in spite of the fact she was told she would ‘die’; God’s grace allowed her and Adam (and ultimately, the entire human race) to continue to physically live. She begins Jesus’ genealogy! And the writer of Hebrews tells us “..Jesus HAD to become like His brothers…” in order to become our sacrificial lamb, our death and sin substitute. We look back and see that He has come to us, our Emmanuel!
Adam is the example taken by the New Testament writers to teach us how the first Adam’s failure is overcome by the second Adam, Christ. Eve’s choice is the paradigm to teach us the seduction of deception and how Christ alone brings us truth. She becomes more than the great, great (to the nth degree) grandmother of Jesus. She is an example of how one woman, listening to the wrong voices, can catapult the human race into human depravity! Recently, a Christian writer has tried to say that Eve receives a low blow because of the way we remember her as one woman, willing to listen to Satan and failing to believe God. She suggests we remember her in her “prime”, as Adam’s help meet and think of her days in Paradise!
While there is no reason for us to devalue God’s crafting of Eve for His purpose and Adam’s joy, there is a problem recreating Eve’s glory days! We have minimal record on what that life was like or how long it lasted! We can say it was idyllic and perfect, that Eve, with Adam, walked with God. And from then on, we can say only what God says: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”. (Gen 2:25)
Scripture itself becomes our guide as to how we should remember Eve and how she fares in the Christmas list of Jesus’ ancestry. Take time to read the cross references where the writers describe her as one of our sisters – actually, our fallen sister, whose life is “saved through the bearing of a child”.
DAY FOUR: The Meaning of Eve in the New Testament Story
Scholars tell us that Genesis 2:18-22 is the only full account of the creation of woman in all of the ancient Near Eastern literature. As you consider Eve, the mother of the human race, the great ancestral grandmother of Jesus and the one who chose to listen to the father of lies instead of God, discuss the following verses to understand how Scripture depicts her.
- Genesis 3:20: Notice when Adam gives his wife her name. When was she referred to as “woman”? What is strange about the fact that AFTER the sin of man, the woman gets the name “mother of the living”?
- Genesis 4:1, 25: From what Eve says, where is her hope for the future? How do her words prove she believed Genesis 3:15b?
- 2 Cor. 11:1-4 (letter to a disobedient church): How does Paul use Eve’s experience of deception as one we learn from as we live a life of obedience to Christ? What keeps you in pure devotion to Christ alone? How are you avoiding the “deception trap” where you live? (Notice, this is NOT a woman thing; this is a human thing. The tendency to be drawn away from loyalty alone to Christ is in all our hearts, male and female!)
- 1 Timothy 2:8-15 (personal letter from Paul to Pastor Timothy on how to teach Christian behavior in the church): In the context of the church, the woman is valued highly. She is asked to show respect for God’s purposes in her life by how she dresses and learns to respect authority.
- What instructions does Paul give Timothy for men? For women?
- How does Paul use Eve’s behavior as a warning for us?
DAY FIVE: The Lessons from Mother Eve
Two things are clear about Eve and her place in history:
First, Eve is the gift of honor to Adam to do him good all the days of her life. There is no hint of inequality of her value; she does for Adam what no animal or line of work can do! We are her daughters, made in the image of God and come packaged for purpose! Thank God now in prayer, for your unique personality and your place in the human family and the family of God. Do not believe a lie about your value. Enjoy the signature of the Lord God upon your life.
Second, Eve teaches us important lessons about listening and leading. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What lies have you listened to that cause you to doubt God and His Word?
- In what ways are you modeling the “re-born” woman Paul talks about in his letters so that the place of ministry where you find yourself is healthy because of your devotion to Christ? Ask the Lord to do a work in you that is beautiful in His eyes.
Used with permission, taken from a Bible Study of the same name, available through www.trinityonline.org
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