Curses | Genesis 3:16-19
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:16-19 | ESV
God had said, “On the day you eat of it you will surely die.” Now he defines the death. Perhaps they wished that this would mean simple elimination or removal from the scene of life. Oh, but not so fast. This is the death of pain, of frustrated desires, of the weight of oppression, of sweat and thorns and thistles – and then there would be the removal from the scene as they returned to the dust from which they were first taken. Let’s just say, God didn’t let them – or us – off easy. And yet from the bigger perspective as we once again look harder, even this has blessing stowed away inside, for it is through pain and suffering that we grow and mature as human beings. “We rejoice in our crushing troubles and hardships, knowing that such tribulation produces patience, and patience produces character, and character hope, and our hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). Again we see God’s remarkable resourcefulness in wasting nothing but working redemption in and through everything. And nowhere does that redemption need to be seen and experienced more profoundly and deeply than in the relationship between man and woman. Man and woman were fundamentally cracked in this “fall” in the garden. The curses God pronounces accentuate the cracks. The Hebrew of Genesis 3:16 is exactly paralleled in Genesis 4:6. Cain’s hatred of his brother wanted to control him even as woman would desire to dominate man; God urged Cain to fight back and dominate his hatred in turn – and so would man fight woman for control. We are cracked eikons of God locked in a battle for control – but God gives a greater grace through Christ. In Christ connection reigns, healthy partnership is restored, curse is turned into blessing.
When most recently have you personally experienced “crushing hardships and troubles” that you have seen God use for blessing? What happened?
Lord, teach me to rejoice in the midst of my hardships rather than looking for you or religion as my easy ticket out. Give me to grace to let the tough turns in life work your grace deeper into the very fiber of my being. Though Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.