Genesis 3:19 “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Humbling statement. God’s staunch reminder to Adam that He created Adam with His own hands from the dust of the ground, and he will return the same way wasn’t just aimed at Adam, but at all of us now. When Adam and Eve chose their will over God’s Will, God rebuked them and handed down their punishment. He didn’t pat them on the back and tell them that it was okay. He didn’t send them to time-out to think about what they had just done. He didn’t offer a way out. He dished out severe punishment for what they did. Punishment that would haunt their ancestors. After all, if God would have handled this any other way, it would have set the precedent for all of us.
We all could sin and safely feel that God would forgive us with no repercussion whatsoever. Some people do feel this way, but Genesis tells us a different story.
God said the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Then He said this to Eve,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”
Then He said this to Adam,
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.
When we begin to think that God is all kind and cuddly, we have lost the story of the Fall of Man in our hearts. The Lenten season should be a reminder to all of us, that we live in a fallen world and we must fight our way through societal demands in order to do God’s Will. Lent is the time to remember that we need God first in our hearts, not our own selfish desires. Let’s face it in this day and age that is an uphill battle. In Lent we are preparing for a battle. The battle that Jesus fought off in the Garden of Gethsemane. The battle that prepares us for the Crucifixion. The battle that will arm us for the world.
So this Ash Wednesday, when you hear the words, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” keep close to your heart that God wants you to hear Him. God has given us great instructions on how to live in this world, not of this world. When we choose our own selfish desires, the punishment will be difficult. God will not sugar coat it for us. Trust me on this one.
When we choose ourselves over God, our life becomes more and more difficult. We cannot understand why we are faced with challenges and struggles all the time. We cannot understand how life is so unfair. We cannot comprehend that we chose the wrong path. We all do it. Adam and Eve showed us the way. Don’t allow the lesson of the Fall of Man to fall on deaf ears.
I don’t think Adam and Eve wanted to toil and labor in the fields in order to feed their family. This would have been especially exhausting when the weather and soil were uncooperative. Talk about feeling out of control. I know Eve had no idea what child labor would be like, but I am pretty sure when she did it was not something she wanted.
Does this mean that Lent is all fire and brimstone? Absolutely not. Lent is hope. We have hope that we can do better. We have hope that God will help us back on the right path. This is why committing to something during Lent is so important. It shows God that we are ready for His will. It shows God that we are ready to let go of one selfish desire (food, alcohol, social media, whatever is holding you back) in order to find God instead.
We have the opportunity during Lent to take God back into our life. Don’t waste it on moaning and groaning about what life looks like now.
Phillipians 2:14-16 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
Use the mistakes of the past to change the future. Allow God to take control over something in your life and witness the change it makes. Blessings on your Lenten Journey.