Me Against the World – October 14, 2022

“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


Military Devotion – October 14, 2022

Devotion based on Genesis 3:17-19

See series: Military Devotions

At times, it feels like my life is a battle of me against the world.

If I kept track of how many times I struck out in life, I suspect my batting average would be in the low digits. And home runs? Very rare.

I relate to the hymn verse that says, “When all things seem against us to lead us to despair.”

Often, it seems whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

My car battery tends to die just when I need to get somewhere fast. What I think is a good plan sputters on the launchpad. Even my body fights against me. It gets sick. It gets frail. It gets old.

And every year, weeds grow in my garden.

Why is this? Why is life such a struggle? It sometimes feels that the world is out to get me.

I have found out, “It is!”

The Bible says that a state of hostility, or enmity, exists between me and the world.

I can see that. But where did this hostility come from? I don’t remember doing anything to anger my garden. Why does it retaliate by growing weeds? Who is responsible for this state of hostility?

God.

That may not seem right, but that’s what the Holy One himself says. He first announced this state of hostility to Satan with the words, “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” (Genesis 3:15).

He went on to show that hostility would also exist between humans and the world in which they live. To Eve, he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing.” To Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:16,17).

Painful is the operative word. Life in this world has become painful for humans.

Sin is part of the picture behind my life’s struggles. The entrance of sin into the world ruined the scene of joy and perfection. Sin has deadly consequences. The words to Adam were, “for you are dust and to dust you will return.”

Life is a battle from the day we were born and will be until the day we die.

But there is much more to the story than punishment for sin. This is also an account of amazing love and redemption.

The state of hostility between us and the world is for our protection. It is a blessing.

If the Creator had in his heart to punish the humans for their rebellion, he would have sentenced them to hell as quickly as he did the rebellious angels.

Instead, he wanted to rescue us from what we deserved. He would provide another paradise for humans. This world was not to be their home. They are not to become comfortable here. Hostility between them and the world will make them long for a place of joy and peace in the company of their Savior. That place is called heaven.

He would smother the human hostility against him with his love. It is this love, this marvelous love, that prompted him to sacrifice his Son to achieve the state of peace with us.

The Bethlehem angels announced it. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind” (Luke 2:14 EHV).

Demons might object, “That’s not fair! Where’s the savior for us?”

The answer is, “You have none.”

Why not? “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Psalm 115:3).

It has pleased him to rescue fallen humans—but not fallen angels.

Reason enough to thank him every day! Reason enough to trust him when he says he intends our struggles in life to be for our good.

Let every setback, every misfortune, and every failure be a reminder that this world is not our friend.

We are in a state of war against a world that is at war against the Lord God.

Prayer: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, we lift our hearts and eyes in thanksgiving and praise as we consider your mercy and love. Guide and protect us as we walk the path of our life on earth. Give us victory over sin, death, and the devil. Amen.

Points to ponder:

  • Why do we think we should be able to live without troubles in life?
  • How do we feel about God not treating the rebellious angels with mercy and love?
  • Why do some people seem to have less trouble in life than others?

Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.

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