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Love Protects

The Lord God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them. Genesis 3:21

that simple sentence suggests three powerful scenes. Scene 1: God slays an animal. For the first time in the history of the earth, dirt is stained with blood. Innocent blood. The beast committed no sin. The creature did not deserve to die.

Adam and Eve did. The couple deserves to die, but they live …

Scene 2: Clothing is made. The shaper of the stars now becomes a tailor.

And in Scene 3: God dresses them. “The Lord … dressed them.”

Adam and Eve are on their way out of the garden. They’ve been told to leave, but now God tells them to stop. “Those fig leaves,” he says, shaking his head, “will never do.” And he produces some clothing. But he doesn’t throw the garments at their feet and tell them to get dressed. He dresses them himself. As a father would zip up the jacket of a preschooler. God covers them.

from A Love Worth Giving

Genesis 3-4

The Beginning of Sin

Now the snake was the most clever of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day the snake said to the woman, “Did God really say that you must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”

The woman answered the snake, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God told us, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch it, or you will die.’”

But the snake said to the woman, “You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!”

The woman saw that the tree was beautiful, that its fruit was good to eat, and that it would make her wise. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of the fruit to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.

Then, it was as if their eyes were opened. They realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made something to cover themselves.

Then they heard the Lord God walking in the garden during the cool part of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said, “Where are you?”

10 The man answered, “I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

11 God asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”

12 The man said, “You gave this woman to me and she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “How could you have done such a thing?”

She answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate the fruit.”

14 The Lord God said to the snake,

“Because you did this,
    a curse will be put on you.
    You will be cursed as no other animal, tame or wild, will ever be.
You will crawl on your stomach,
    and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
15 I will make you and the woman
    enemies to each other.
Your descendants and her descendants
    will be enemies.
One of her descendants will crush your head,
    and you will bite his heel.”

16 Then God said to the woman,

“I will cause you to have much trouble
    when you are pregnant,
and when you give birth to children,
    you will have great pain.
You will greatly desire your husband,
    but he will rule over you.”

17 Then God said to the man, “You listened to what your wife said, and you ate fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat.

“So I will put a curse on the ground,
    and you will have to work very hard for your food.
In pain you will eat its food
    all the days of your life.
18 The ground will produce thorns and weeds for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 You will sweat and work hard for your food.
Later you will return to the ground,
    because you were taken from it.
You are dust,
    and when you die, you will return to the dust.”

20 The man named his wife Eve,[a] because she was the mother of all the living.

21 The Lord God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Humans have become like one of us; they know good and evil. We must keep them from eating some of the fruit from the tree of life, or they will live forever.” 23 So the Lord God forced Adam out of the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 After God forced humans out of the garden, he placed angels and a sword of fire that flashed around in every direction on its eastern border. This kept people from getting to the tree of life.

The First Family

Adam had sexual relations with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] Eve said, “With the Lord’s help, I have given birth to a man.” After that, Eve gave birth to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel took care of flocks, and Cain became a farmer.

Later, Cain brought some food from the ground as a gift to God. Abel brought the best parts from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. So Cain became very angry and felt rejected.

The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why do you look so unhappy? If you do things well, I will accept you, but if you do not do them well, sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out into the field.” While they were out in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Later, the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

Cain answered, “I don’t know. Is it my job to take care of my brother?”

10 Then the Lord said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground. 11 And now you will be cursed in your work with the ground, the same ground where your brother’s blood fell and where your hands killed him. 12 You will work the ground, but it will not grow good crops for you anymore, and you will wander around on the earth.”

13 Then Cain said to the Lord, “This punishment is more than I can stand! 14 Today you have forced me to stop working the ground, and now I must hide from you. I must wander around on the earth, and anyone who meets me can kill me.”

15 The Lord said to Cain, “No! If anyone kills you, I will punish that person seven times more.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain warning anyone who met him not to kill him.

Cain’s Family

16 So Cain went away from the Lord and lived in the land of Nod,[c] east of Eden. 17 He had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. At that time Cain was building a city, which he named after his son Enoch. 18 Enoch had a son named Irad, Irad had a son named Mehujael, Mehujael had a son named Methushael, and Methushael had a son named Lamech.

19 Lamech married two women, Adah and Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, who became the first person to live in tents and raise cattle. 21 Jabal’s brother was Jubal, the first person to play the harp and flute. 22 Zillah gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who made tools out of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his wives:

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice!
    You wives of Lamech, listen to what I say.
I killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for hitting me.
24 If Cain’s killer is punished seven times,
    then Lamech’s killer will be punished seventy-seven times.”

Adam and Eve Have a New Son

25 Adam had sexual relations with his wife Eve again, and she gave birth to a son. She named him Seth[d] and said, “God has given me another child. He will take the place of Abel, who was killed by Cain.” 26 Seth also had a son, and they named him Enosh. At that time people began to pray to the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:20 Eve This name sounds like the Hebrew word meaning “alive.”
  2. 4:1 Cain This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “I have given birth.”
  3. 4:16 Nod This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “wander.”
  4. 4:25 Seth This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “to give.”
New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Psalm 2:1-6

The Lord’s Chosen King

Why are the nations so angry?
    Why are the people making useless plans?
The kings of the earth prepare to fight,
    and their leaders make plans together
against the Lord
    and his appointed one.
They say, “Let’s break the chains that hold us back
    and throw off the ropes that tie us down.”

But the one who sits in heaven laughs;
    the Lord makes fun of them.
Then the Lord warns them
    and frightens them with his anger.
He says, “I have appointed my own king
    to rule in Jerusalem on my holy mountain, Zion.”

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Proverbs 1:8-9

Warnings Against Evil

My child, listen to your father’s teaching
    and do not forget your mother’s advice.
Their teaching will be like flowers in your hair
    or a necklace around your neck.

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Matthew 2

Wise Men Come to Visit Jesus

Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king. When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, as were all the people in Jerusalem. Herod called a meeting of all the leading priests and teachers of the law and asked them where the Christ would be born. They answered, “In the town of Bethlehem in Judea. The prophet wrote about this in the Scriptures:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are not just an insignificant village in Judah.
A ruler will come from you
    who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.’” Micah 5:2

Then Herod had a secret meeting with the wise men and learned from them the exact time they first saw the star. He sent the wise men to Bethlehem, saying, “Look carefully for the child. When you find him, come tell me so I can worship him too.”

After the wise men heard the king, they left. The star that they had seen in the east went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They came to the house where the child was and saw him with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 But God warned the wise men in a dream not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their own country by a different way.

Jesus’ Parents Take Him to Egypt

13 After they left, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, because Herod is starting to look for the child so he can kill him. Stay in Egypt until I tell you to return.”

14 So Joseph got up and left for Egypt during the night with the child and his mother. 15 And Joseph stayed in Egypt until Herod died. This happened to bring about what the Lord had said through the prophet: “I called my son out of Egypt.”[a]

Herod Kills the Baby Boys

16 When Herod saw that the wise men had tricked him, he was furious. So he gave an order to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem and in the surrounding area who were two years old or younger. This was in keeping with the time he learned from the wise men. 17 So what God had said through the prophet Jeremiah came true:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah
    of painful crying and deep sadness:
Rachel crying for her children.
    She refused to be comforted,
    because her children are dead.” Jeremiah 31:15

Joseph and Mary Return

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream while he was in Egypt. 20 The angel said, “Get up! Take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, because the people who were trying to kill the child are now dead.”

21 So Joseph took the child and his mother and went to Israel. 22 But he heard that Archelaus was now king in Judea since his father Herod had died. So Joseph was afraid to go there. After being warned in a dream, he went to the area of Galilee, 23 to a town called Nazareth, and lived there. And so what God had said through the prophets came true: “He will be called a Nazarene.”[b]

Footnotes:

  1. 2:15 “I called . . . Egypt.” Quotation from Hosea 11:1.
  2. 2:23 Nazarene A person from the town of Nazareth. Matthew may be referring to Isaiah 11:1, where the Hebrew word translated “branch” sounds like “Nazarene.”
New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Copyright 2012 by Zondervan.
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