When I was young, I used to babysit for friends of my parents that are basically my family members after all these years. In the summertime, I practically lived in their home and went everywhere with them. One place was the pool at a nearby marina. One day, the little girl I was charged with babysitting, my cousin for all intents and purposes, fell into the pool without her flotation devices and she couldn’t swim on her own yet.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a child fall into water before they learn how to swim but it’s terrifying. They panic. Their fear is tangible, and its gut wrenching. And I’m not even exaggerating; I don’t remember how I got into the pool or how fast I got in the pool or any specific detail of the event at all. But someone I love was in trouble and all I know is that I rushed in for her to hold her up above the water.
In Genesis 3, when the Fall happened – we’re all familiar with the story right? I don’t need to go into any detail about what happened, I’m sure – but for the sake of storytelling, the serpent tempted Eve, she ate, Adam ate, God came, they were ashamed. What I didn’t know, however, was in the Hebrew especially, that these events happened incredibly fast. One right after the other; these events happened like boom, boom, boom, done.
The English translations don’t seem to make this so evident, at least not to me. The Bible says that after they ate, Adam and Eve sewed some fig leaves together to cover up their bodies, and Genesis 3:8 says that Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid…” Maybe because it takes me a while to sew, but it sounds like there was a while before God came, and it sounds like He came by on a nice evening stroll. “The cool of the day” reminds me of the end of spring and the beginning of fall. Living in the Midwestern United States, it gets really hot during the middle of the day, but it gets cool and comfortable around dinnertime, and it’s the best time for a pleasant evening walk. That’s what I picture God doing. But that’s not really what the Hebrew story is saying.
The word that is used in Hebrew that is translated into “the cool of the evening” is “ruah.” Ruah translates to any type wind ranging from a breeze to a raging storm or fatal vapor. In every other place it’s used in the Bible, according to this teaching, it’s translated to a storm, a rushing wind, except for this place in Genesis. He came through the garden like a WIND. He moved quickly and pointedly. It wasn’t a fatal vapor or an F5 tornado to kill Adam and Eve in their sin, but they heard Him coming so I imagine it wasn’t exactly a soft and gentle breeze like we get in late spring in Ohio. It was probably bit more like the wind you can hear outside your window, loud and with power and authority, but without destructive malice. He knew what was happening and He was rushing in to find them, to reach them, to save them.
And even though they were dead in their sin, and there were certainly consequences doled out for their actions, God set in motion the plan for redemption through them. He gave them law to follow and a way to repent. He made them the father and mother of every living person and laid out their linage that would eventually bring about Christ, and through Him, the reconciliation of the break in relationship that JUST happened.
Then the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. On your belly you will go and dust you will eat all the days of your life. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15 NLT)
All of us are stuck in one sin or another. Be it addictions to porn, drugs, drink, self, gossip, meddling, whatever – and if you don’t think you are because you’re a Christian, I’d venture to guess that yours is self-righteousness and/or legalism. Flailing, drowning, dying; and like a wind He is RUSHING in after us, pursuing us, and willing to save us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)
From the beginning of time, He has been a jealous God for His people, passionately pursuing our hearts even when we are dying in our sin. God is after those ugly places in our hearts that are still lifeless in those sins, and He is constantly renewing our minds and giving us a new heart and breathing in us new life.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLT)
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)
Even the most shameful and embarrassing and gross and disgusting and unholy sins, He is jumping in the water after us, He is rushing in like a wind to pull us up out of that and hold us above the water. A friend shared an image a few weeks ago and it said, “The chapter you don’t want to read out loud? Jesus died for that one, too.” It is His delight to hold us up above the water, to pull us out of the pit, breathe life back into us, and to set us upon a rock, the solid foundation that is Jesus Christ.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2 NIV)
The Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)