Community Group Study “Genesis: Mercy in Judgment”
Before your community group meets:
Read Genesis 3:14-24. Write out 7-10 observations you see in the passage.
How does God show mercy in the midst of his judgment for their sin in this passage?
Why does God cover Adam and Eve before sending them out of the garden? If you have access to some study bibles this may be an interesting area to research.
Check out the community group guide from last week here for info relating to how God applied judgment on the serpent, man and woman as a result of sin’s entrance into the world. To give you a quick recap: God forces humbling or lowness on the serpent with causing him to crawl on the dust of the ground and by numbering his days before a promised savior will come and crush him. To the woman, sin will be intensely felt in relationship dynamics, particularly with conflict with the man and pain in childbirth. Finally, the man will feel the intense effects of sin in the ground fighting against him in his work and a reminder that he will return to the dust he was made from.
This does not mean that men do not experience relational sin or that women do not experience frustration in work… we know from the Bible and experience that they do. However, God is judging their distrust of him in these areas specifically.
As we look at these areas, we can see that God is reversing the blessings of the garden. Adam who was taken from the ground to work the ground, now experiences frustration and a return to the ground. Eve who was created to be Adam’s necessary helper now finds herself in conflict with him. Finally, both Adam and Eve experience separation from the presence of God.
Yet, throughout this passage we see God interweave mercy and grace. First, he sought them out in the midst of their shame, guilt and fear. It is interesting to note that the life of Jesus shows us God continues to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Second, he promises to break apart the alliance between humanity and the serpent (3:15a) and to send one who’d crush the head of the serpent (3:15b, 1 John 3:8). Third, Adam gives his wife the name Eve which means “life-giver”. In a world of death, Adam sees Gods grace in continued life and expresses hope in God’s promise. Fourth, God made for them clothing from animal skins. This clothing reminds Adam and Eve that they’re naked and in need, but it is also an act of God providing mercy, it foreshadows the coming sacrificial system and God’s provision of atonement through the covering of animal sacrifice. Finally, God blocks off access to the garden and the tree of life. This is an act of judgment since they’re removed from his presence and are in a form of exile. Yet, it is also an act of mercy because he prevents them from eating of the tree of life and living in this separated state forever… which would be hell, eternal separation from God. God instead provides for a new tree of life to give them eternal life through faith in the person and work of Jesus on the cross.
Our hope is that as you hear this sermon and study and discuss this passage in your personal life or groups that you’ll be encouraged to see how God shows his grace and mercy in our lives, even in judgement on our sin.
At your community group:
Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.
How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?
Scripture and Discussion Questions:
As a group, summarize the consequences for sin with a few key words. Look specifically at Genesis 3:24. How does this relate to what was said earlier in Genesis 2:17?
How does Adam respond to God’s mercy in judgment? Look at Genesis 3:20, does this demonstrate hope or faith in God’s promise?
How does Genesis 3:15 (God’s promise to defeat the serpent) and Genesis 3:21 (God clothing Adam and Eve in their nakedness and shame) point to the gospel? Hint: The New Testament uses clothing language for our relationship with Jesus. Look at Romans 13:14 and Galatians 3:27 as examples.
Read Genesis 4:1-16. Write down 7-10 observations you see in this passage (who is talking? Do we get a sense of why their sacrifices were different? Observe things like setting, who speaks, etc).
The passage mentions Cain’s anger. Who is Cain angry at? Who does he harm?
This passage gives us some strong warnings about unchecked sin, hatred and anger. Spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal unchecked sin in your life and if you have people you openly hate, spend some time praying for God to change your heart and praying for them.