Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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[Eve] took some of the fruit and ate it (v.6).
Our 7-year-old son, Seth, has a strong mischievous
streak. Recently, well after bedtime, we heard
the sounds of suspicious activity upstairs. I called
to Seth in a firm tone, asking what he was doing since
he was supposed to be in bed. Silence. Seth’s mind was
rapidly sifting through any plausible excuse he could offer.
Finally, he simply said, “Oh, Dad, just ground me.”
Genesis provides a litany of humanity’s inexplicable,
inexcusable disobedience—a history of human folly:
• Disobedience. At the outset, in the most perplexing
act, Eve and Adam spurned God, ate forbidden fruit,
and lost their place in the Garden (3:1-7).
• Disobedience. The first children, our first set of
brothers, gave us our first violent act—murder (4:1-9).
• Disobedience. Eventually God recognized “that
everything [humanity] thought or imagined was
consistently and totally evil” (6:5).
•Disobedience. Finally, attempting to rival God,
humanity built a tower (Babel) to reach the heavens,
asserting their will over God’s (11:1-4).
Following this bitter list of human rebellion, Genesis 11
closes by recapping the genealogy from Shem to Abram.
The lineage ends with these sad words: “Sarai [Abram’s
wife] was barren.” And to make certain we get the point,
Scripture adds this exclamation point: “Sarai . . . had no
children” (v.30). Humanity was barren, empty. Humanity
had refused God and followed life on its own terms. A world God had intended to
flourish was now dry and withering.
The story begged for a rescue, for new life to come again. In time,however,
God allowed an old woman—Sarai—to become pregnant; and still later
God sent His own Son to infuse new life. Our efforts lead to barrenness, but
following God leads to life.
In what areas of your life are you tempted to be disobedient to
God? How do you see barrenness resulting from
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