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Consequences of Misplaced Worship


Genesis 3:7-13

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

In v. 8 we get a glimpse of the beautiful picture of life in the garden before the fall. God walking in the garden in the cool of the day among humans. God, like a king in his garden, walks freely among the humans. His presence is fully with them. In these verses we see a number of consequences of their misplaced worship.

These consequences are what Moses is warning his original audience (the Israelites entering the promised land) about. After delivering the Law to the people he says to them: (the themes should look familiar to the Genesis 3 account)

Deuteronomy 30:15–20 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

First we see a division in their relationship with one another. They are ashamed of their nakedness so they hide it by sewing some leaves together for a coving (v. 7). This is a sharp contrast from 2:25 where they are both naked and not ashamed.

Next, there is a division in their relationship with God. They hide from him. Fear and shame now separate them from God.

Note God calling to them. He knows what’s happened. Yet he still calls to them and comes near to them. In coming to them God asks them to task and they confess. Scholars have debated this for a long time, whether or not God is here giving them a chance to repent and what would have happened if they honestly repented. That is however a question the biblical authors leave open-ended. We are free to ponder but we cannot make too much of it. The humans however don’t repent, instead they play the blame game. Adam blames Eve; Eve blames the serpent.

Then God hands down the curses on all parties involved. These curses correspond to the creation mandate from chapter 1. Remember we said there were three components to the mandate:

  1. God blessed them, now God curses them,
  2. They were called to populate the earth, now that will be though pain in childbearing
  3. they were called to rule creation, now will sort of fight back, so they will only bring forth food through painful toil. Before they just had to work it and keep it. Now that becomes more difficult.

In the midst of these curses God makes a promise of deliverance. A human will defeat the serpent once and for all while the serpent will also wound the human. This we will talk about on Friday.

Ross summarizes this scene well in his commentary on Genesis.

Whereas the pair had life, they now have death; where they had pleasure, they now have pain; where abundance, now a meager subsistence; and where perfect union and communion, now alienation and conflict.

(Ross, A., & Oswalt, J. N. (2008). Cornerstone biblical commentary: Genesis, Exodus (Vol. 1, p. 54). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)

Additional Content

Today we are going to listen to a portion of a conversation Jon and I had about misplacing our worship.

(ff to 5:30 for the additional content)


Reflect on the areas of your life where you have misplaced your worship. Is it something you know is sinful, yet you give into the temptation. Or is it something that is good a good thing that has perhaps become unhealthy draw on your time or devotion like sports, entertainment, the house, work or loved ones. Anything that takes the place of God in our heart becomes an idol and the consequences are never good.