November 03, 2019

What is this You Have Done?

Genesis 3:13-24

The Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

—  Genesis 3:13

“Confession is good for the soul.” This is not a biblical proverb, but it flows from the Bible’s teaching. God’s question to Eve resonates with ­every sinner’s soul: “What is this you have done?” Her answer is history’s first confession of sin: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” She knew that God knew. No use denying it.

After Eve’s confession, God issued judgment on the serpent (Satan), on human beings, and on creation because of human sin. The serpent would slither in the dust and later be crushed by Eve’s offspring (when Jesus conquered sin and death for us—Romans 8:1-4). Childbirth, the woman’s unique privilege, would include severe pain, yet she would still desire her husband. And farming, humanity’s high calling in caring for God’s creation, would now include backbreaking work to produce the food people had to eat. Then eventually their bodies would die and return to the dust they had come from.

But in an act of grace, God clothed his imagebearers with animal hides. And he evicted them from Eden—not as punishment but to protect them from living forever in sin and separation from God.

Salvation requires confession. Like Adam and Eve, we all sin. The question God asked Eve needs to be answered daily so that we can grow in grace. “What is this you have done?” An honest answer will be good for the soul.

Father, we have disobeyed you in this life you have given us. Forgive us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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