SCRIPTURES – Genesis
3:1-21; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
When I was a kid, I loved to play
with dominoes; not play dominoes, the
actual game, but play with dominoes –
you know, set them up in a long line, with curves and turns, and then push the
first one and… Click! Click! Click! Click!... watch them all fall over. It was
fun to watch them and hear them fall!
Satan is a master dominoes player.
How he loves to set us up with temptations and then watch us fall as we give in
to them! He did this with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the dominoes
have been falling ever since.
Just look at how Satan tricks them.
He doesn’t out and out call God a liar or untrustworthy. Instead, he subtly
changes the meaning of what God had said to make Him appear so. He tempts Adam
and Eve with progression, with improvement: “If
you eat of the fruit of the tree, you won’t die. No, you’ll be changed; and for
the better! You will be like God! (And I wonder: why doesn’t He want that?)” When
they give in to the temptation and eat, they find that they are changed: but
for the worse, not the better. See how the dominoes fall:
The first to fall is truthful language. What God
says cannot be trusted!
And so, trust in God – faith – falls. They see
Him as their enemy from whom they must hide.
Unhappy with God, they are now unhappy with who
they are. They are ashamed because they are naked, and so make coverings of
leaves for themselves. Click! Click! Click! Inner peace and contentment are
Then, their marriage collapses. When confronted
by God with his sin, Adam does not take responsibility and shield his wife but
quickly blames her and turns her over to God — to face death for her disobedience!
What is left for them but death? “If
you eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, you will
Click! Click! Click! Click! The
twisting and denial of God’s Word… doubt and unbelief… shame… divorce and the
collapse of the family… destruction and death; these are the works of the
devil. Adam and Eve were in his kingdom, in hell because of their disobedience.
And, sadly, the dominoes they set in motion are falling to this day. “Sin
came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread
to all men because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)
Thanks be to God, the mighty Son of
God has come to us to halt this depressing Click! Click! Click! Click! of sin
and death! He has come as the new Adam, the first of a new line of dominoes. In
Him we do not fall, but are raised and made to stand.
Imagine a line of dominoes lying
down, one on top of another, after they have fallen… but each connected to the
next. Stand the first one up and it pulls all the others up with it. This is
what happens when God promises, and then sends, His Son as the new Adam. He’s promised
to us in the words spoken to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the
woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall crush your head,
and you shall crush his heel." (Gen. 3:15) when He comes, He’s the
new Adam who is again tempted by Satan. He obeys God’s Word, however, sending
Satan away in defeat and blessing us, for “by the one man's obedience the many will be
made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19) On the cross He crushes Satan by bearing
our sin and its punishment and removing their condemnation from us. Jesus is
Satan’s destroyer! See how God makes the dominoes to stand when He promises Him
to Adam and Eve:
“I will put enmity” – a state of
opposition and hatred – “between you and the woman, and between your
offspring and her offspring.” God removes them from the devil’s kingdom
of hell and restores them to His own kingdom. It is by faith now, and not by
sight, for we don’t see God as Adam and Eve did before they sinned. But, we
have His promise to hang onto. It brings us life, Christ’s victorious life. It fills
us with His Holy Spirit to help us fight against our sin and reveal His kingdom
among us. It sets us in opposition to Satan and His kingdom!
Next, God restores their marriage and secures future
marriages. He speaks to Eve of “your husband” and to Adam of “your
wife.” The union they had broken He restores. Of course, marriage is
not easy now. “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over
you," God tells Eve, and we deal with both desires and power
struggles in our marriages to this day. So, fill your marriage and family with
God’s word of salvation in Christ, and your marriage and family will stand as a
blessing to yourself and many others.
God gives and renews purpose and value in life.
Yes, there is now pain in childbearing, but there is still childbearing. There
are now thorns and thistles, but still there is planting and harvesting. Work
is not always easy or enjoyable, but it is still God’s gift and blessing by
which He works through us to renew His earth.
Then, God clothes Adam and Eve, showing that He
still values and blesses their lives. Oh, we may fight over clothes and still
be tempted to be very dissatisfied and feel badly about ourselves, but our God
loves us and cares for us! He will assure you of this as His Word fill your
mind and heart.
Finally, God restores the right preaching of His
Word by giving true faith to proclaim it. Satan’s twisting and corrupting of
God’s Word will not be allowed to stand unopposed! We see this in the simple
statement in Gen. 3, “The man called his wife's name Eve [which
means, “life”], because she was the mother of all living.” Adam believes what
God says and so proclaims that, even though he and his wife are sinful, God
will still bring forth and continue life through them. With one word, Eve, he
preaches God’s truth and God’s works and rejects Satan’s lie!
For Adam and Eve, restoration to life
with God and the victory in their now ongoing battle with Satan rested upon the
word and promise of God, “I will put enmity between you, Satan, and
the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall crush your
head, and you shall crush his heel." God has since given us many
more words: His Holy Bible. Of it Jesus says: “Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Stand, then, the Words of God that
He gives you in His Holy Scriptures! Listen to them; learn them; believe them;
and follow them. You, your family, your life and your work will be joined to
Christ and raised up in victory with Him, your new Adam. And, even though the
devil may tempt you – and he most certainly will – what Martin Luther declared
and teaches us to sing in his hymn, “A
Mighty Fortress is Our God,” (LSB #657, verse 3) will prove true:
Though hordes of devils fill the land all threatening to devour us,
We tremble not, unmoved we stand; they cannot overpower us.
Let this world’s tyrant rage; in battle we’ll engage.
His might is doomed to fail; God’s judgment must prevail!
One little word subdues him.