God's Perfect Reply to a Cheap Excuse

Mockery by using someone's own words.

Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV)

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.”

If you ever doubt that God’s patience is infinite, study this passage. When Adam said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate,” God should have smacked him half way across the galaxy. Instead He does something subtle.

In fact, God’s reply isn’t easy to understand. “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife …” Listened to what? She didn’t say anything. Her only line was to quote (misquote) the command to the serpent. Adam listened to the voice of his wife, hearing his own words.

See what God is doing here? Adam is going to have many years to think about this. He’s also, at this point, clearly unsaved. He needs to learn and to grow. God is playing the long game.

Adam claims that it’s Eve’s fault and God plays along in a way that Adam has to find frustrating. God describes this in terms of him losing an argument. But the only thing Eve said was to repeat Adam’s words.

He’s mocking Adam! Adam either has to accept that he lost an argument to nothing or get into the details of what happened – which wouldn’t go well. And God doesn’t give him the chance anyway. He pronounces judgment and ends the conversation. God effectively says, “I sentence you to surely die. Now get off my lawn.” Adam has 930 years to figure this out.


Adam was undoubtedly wracked by guilt. So are we. We all make mistakes we regret. But Christians are more sensitive to this because we have been awakened to our sinful nature.

Thus, being a Christian has a surprising element of pain, though it’s a healthy pain. We are mindful of our mistakes and thus we learn. At least we’re less likely to repeat them.

Today let’s deal with baggage from the past. If you harbor regrets, turn them over to the Lord. As we’ve seen in our study of Genesis, God has plans that even incorporate our blunders and sins. Yes, we should strive to do the right thing and to learn from our mistakes. But there are things in God’s plan that are more important than the consequences we can see.

Ask for peace about this.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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