Monday, March 27, 2017

"Eden is Coming"

Joshua 9.22-23 NIV

“Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, ‘Why did you deceive us by saying, “We live a long way from you,” while actually you live near us?

You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.’”

Joshua’s question to the Gibeonites puzzles me. What did he expect? Of course the Gibeonites would lie. They would happily pay the price for their deception. It would be far better to lie than to die. If they could secure a covenant of peace with Joshua, the Gibeonites would save themselves and their city from destruction at the hands of Israelite warriors. They would live under a curse, but they would live! So they fooled Joshua into believing a lie...

“We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”
Joshua 9.6b NIV

The people of Gibeon would live under the curse of hard labor in servitude to Israeli masters. As bad as that was, it was better than death. They would “never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers,” but they would live. 

I live under a similar curse. Since the sin of my original father Adam, I am under the curse of sweat and hard labor.[1] Nothing on earth comes to me free-for-the-taking. This life is no “Garden of Eden.” I must work, and work hard, to make a decent living.

Humans are cursed with a life of hard work. If we wish to eat and feed our families, we must work. It’s a hard life, filled with challenges requiring me to get out of bed early each morning and go to work. But, as hard as it is, it’s not all bad. It can be a very good life. Though I don’t always enjoy my work, most of the time I do. To make a living requires me, at times, to rise to distasteful, difficult, and dreaded occasions. Regardless of how I feel about my vocation, the fact remains that I will only eat “by the sweat of my brow.” If I choose hard work over laziness and trust God who gave me the capacity to work hard, my family and I are taken care of. We believe in and pray often for God’s provision... and He always provides. 

The Gibeonites made peace with Joshua and I made peace with Jesus. I may “never cease” from my labor for my remaining years on earth, but I am alive and grateful for it.

I have something else to be grateful for. Eden is coming. Someday I will be forever released from the curse of hard work, sin, and death. Jesus made that possible...

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…”
Galatians 3.13


[1] “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 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” (Genesis 3.17-19).

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