Genesis 3:24 “After He drove the man out…”

Observation: Adam had sinned. The uncreated God had created the most idyllic place on the planet to express the fulness of His love for this created being. God’s great passion had been for relationship with Adam, yet by his sin Adam had pushed God aside in pursuit of a lesser satisfaction, something forbidden. So the Word says, “…He drove the man out…”

Application: Is there anywhere in Scripture a phrase more fraught with anguish than this one? This “driving out” was no afternoon in the park in which God hitched white horses to a cart for Adam’s last tour of a beautiful place. No, this driving out surely conveys an aggressive, forceful, threatening advance against a suddenly puny man now reduced to terror-filled sorrow. This is the picture of a very great God looming in all His awfulness, marshalling fearsome cherubim and a flaming sword of judgment to force a terrified man from the only place of safety and delight he had ever known. This was the unrequited love of God jealously responding to Adam’s violation of their relationship. Surely the watching universe recoiled in horror as the broken heart of God drove Adam not just from His sight, but from His fellowship.

What thoughts might have tumbled through Adam’s mind in that moment? Whatever they were, I can be sure they were each brand new. He had never before felt fear or known loss. The security of eternal love was ripped asunder, fully exposing Adam to consequences the blackness of which he hadn’t previously had the capacity even to consider. And for what? All because he treated something else as more important than God Himself.

Why do I do it? What is this awful thing within me that knows God’s deepest desire is for intimacy with me, yet retains the capacity to choose lesser pursuits? What is this surging force that lets me choose so unwisely when God’s greatest desire is that I press deeper into Him, into Christ? My capacity for choice is my source of greatest pleasure when I choose well and of utter despair when I do not.

I am comforted by remembering the last time the Father touched Adam. Genesis 3:21 says God made garments of skin with which He then dressed Adam and Eve. Even in the midst of broken intimacy, He dressed them. Did His hand linger on Adam’s shoulder after Adam had stepped into his new suit? Did He pause to gaze lovingly into Adam’s forlorn eyes? I have seen that gaze and felt that touch. I have known His kindness in the midst of my most cavalier choices.

Prayer: Father, thank You for these images of Your passionate love. Forgive me, Lord, for putting anything above a whole-hearted response to Your love. By Your Spirit, whisper to me each time today that my choices hurt Your heart.