Even as I typed the title to this blog, I wonder where that expression come from. But I know the feeling knowing that there is something bad right around the corner. I remember as a kid waiting for the moment my Dad would find out what I had done. Like the time I “borrowed” his stereo and carried to a friends house down the street to add a little “culture” to our lemonade stand. What made him come home early from work I will never know – but I remember the sinking feeling as I saw him drive by.
That feeling is the same feeling I get as I read through the account of Adam and Eve in Chapter 3 of Genesis. After they ate of the Tree God had forbidden them to eat of, God finds them hiding in the garden. As he comes to them and addresses the consequence of their sin we hear him turn to Satan and say,
“Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the 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[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Curse, “to call on a deity or supernatural power to send injury or destruction”, those words had to rattle Adam and Eve to the very core. They had never heard anything like this come out of the mouth of their creator. Now in great fear they waited “for the other shoe to drop.” To the woman God said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
And now to the man, God turns and says, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ …” He waits for his due, in silent fear he is sure he know what is coming. The very first word confirms his fears. God says,
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
I have in my mind the image of Adam, knowing what was coming and not even listening beyond the first word… “Cursed…” In my mind I see his racing, I know it – I am cursed like Satan. After a second or two he hears, as he replays it in his mind “Cursed is the ground…” “The ground?” What a moment of relief it must have brought. This relief would be short lived, he would later understand this consequence brought “death” to man. But where was the curse? It was removed from man and given to the one who would redeem and rescue then man. The curse was placed on Jesus, along with man’s death.
God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
The other shoe did fall – for all your sin, and for all my sin. It fell on the child of Bethlehem, it fell on the one they called the “Prince of Peace.” In the Christ, whose birth and Epiphany we just celebrated we are saved, from sin and death.
I pray that each day I would live in joyful thanks, and humble service to the one who Redeemed me, as Luther wrote of Jesus my Redeemer: “who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”