In my quiet time early this morning, my thoughts turned towards Eve, the first woman God created. To be honest, I've never really devoted a great deal of thought to her but I sensed in my spirit that the Lord was directing me so I turned to the early chapters of Genesis. As I read, I tried to put myself in her shoes.
The very first woman created - no example to follow. No other woman to talk to.
What were her thoughts the day after the fall? The day after God Himself fashioned garments to clothe Eve and her husband, Adam, and then evicted them from the Garden? I'm embarrassed to confess that after more than forty years of studying the Bible, I never asked myself these questions before.
As I thought about these things, suddenly I was overcome with a realization of the depth and the power of God's extravagant grace. It was Grace that fashioned those garments for them. It was also Grace that put them out of the garden - for two reasons: to remove them from the scene of their temptation and failure lest they be plunged into a shame they would never recover from; and to re-locate them to a new environment outside the garden where they could continue to fulfill the rest of his mandate to them: increase and multiply and fill the earth.
Though they had failed in one point, the other portion of their calling remained! How encouraging is that to all of us! Immediately I thought of Romans 11:29 'For the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable.'
It was His amazing Grace that gave them a 'second chance' by allowing them to have children - after the fall. We know the names of three sons - Cain, Abel and Seth - but there were more for the Bible says 'When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years and he had other sons and daughters.' Genesis 6:3
So Eve gave birth to multiple children, each one a visible evidence that God's mandate to them had not been erased or cancelled. How many sermons I have heard - and even preached myself - in which Eve is referenced only with respect to her failure before the Tree of Life and we don't even think about the long life she had after that.
Surely Eve learned that disobedience carries a heavy price but for the first time this morning I was overcome with the realization that just as surely Eve must also have learned that the God with whom she and Adam walked and talked in the Garden in the earliest days of creation was also a God of Grace and Extravagant Mercy.
Adam and Eve were given two commandments by God: 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it' and 'Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.'
They kept one and they disobeyed the other. Yes we have all suffered because of the command they disobeyed, but we likewise have been blessed because they obeyed the other for Adam and Eve are the parents of the entire human race. Without them, we wouldn't be here!
Eve has been blamed through the centuries for all the ills of the human race yet I am as guilty as every other preacher for not balancing that reality with the fact that despite her colossal failure, Eve pressed on and became the mother of many children, ensuring the continuation of mankind.
Is Eve in heaven today? I earnestly believe that after the crucifixion of Jesus, when the Lord descended into the nether world to preach the Gospel to the Old Testament saints who were waiting there for the day of salvation, Eve may well have been the first or one of the first ones to respond to His message, receive His forgiveness and then follow Him triumphant into the heavenly realm. 'Therefore it says, 'When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men.' Now this expression, 'He ascended', what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.' Ephesians 4:8-10
God never intended that we be defined by our failures, but by our commitment to learn from them, pick ourselves up after failure and go on to fulfill the destiny for which He created us. This morning for the first time I saw this in a new way about Eve...and I am encouraged.
I pray that you are as well.
Til next time,