KEY TEXT: Genesis 3:14-19 The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field;on your belly you shall go,and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head,and you shall bruise his heel."
To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband,and he shall rule over you."
And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
KEY THOT: In passing judgment on the serpent, Eve and Adam, the Scripture makes it very clear that sin has consequences--some natural because of the law of cause-and-effect; but some are divinely imposed judgments. In this case, the three consequences are not natural but divinely decreed. The woman will experience pain in childbirth and will have to remain in submission to her husband to protect her from further deception: "...in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (v.16). The man's failure was his abdication of headship in the home: "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife..." Now work which was once pleasurable and creative in the Garden will now be filled with sweat and sorrow created by the "thorns and thistles" of the cursed ground. And ultimately, man would die and return to dust.
But in the midst of divine judgments, there was a hint of divine mercy: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" (v.15). Here God pronounces the future coming of the "offspring" of the woman who will bruise the serpent's head even as the serpent will bruise his heel. This is a reference to Christ's death on the Cross. Satan will bruise Christ's heel (cause his death) but in the process, Satan will inflict upon himself a death-blow he would never recover.
Ever since that day, there is a constant power struggle between the male and female species of humanity. The female rejects and resents the male headship by refusing to submit to it (feminism), while the man experiences stress in the workplace that will ultimately kill him instead of rejuvenate his spirit.
Jesus came to reverse the curse: the redeemed woman will be willing to submit to male headship and the redeemed man will be willing to exercise godly and loving headship over the woman even as his work will become a source of creative pleasure and rejuvenation.
Abba-Father, thank You for Your mercy in the midst of judgment, for indeed mercy triumphs over judgment. May You help us to restore the proper relationship between man and woman and man and his workplaces. In Jesus' name, Amen.