“In pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17-19).
By God’s design, men are workers of the field. Not that they all must be farmers, but that their primary responsibility in life is to provide for and protect the family. In the garden, this was a joyful experience. It was a lush environment, a source of blessed purpose, until man sinned and frustrated God’s design.
After cursing the woman, God turned to the man and cursed him in the very sphere that defines his joy: “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” Sin impacted the nature of his work. The field became a place of distress. “Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.” Crops would fail, locusts would destroy, birds would consume, drought and freezes would overthrow, and more. Work would be a constant case for great sorrow. The earth would only yield after immense toil.
Adam was cursed because he “listened to the voice of his wife,” instead of the voice of God, and ate of the forbidden tree. Adam obeyed his wife, not his God. He honored her when she honored the serpent instead of God. He deliberately chose his wife over God. And now, his daily sustenance would be his daily suffering.
Adam lived 930 years in this toil. He didn’t retire. He toiled to eat and ate to live. All that was designed to bring him joy would now bring him anguish. It was meant to be a constant reminder to the world of Adam’s sin. The woman was cursed in the family. The man was cursed in the field. Still, in His kindness, God has given us ways to alleviate some of the anguish derived from work, but nothing compares to the abundant life found in union with God.
- How would you describe the curse of man by God? In what ways does it make us sharply aware of sin’s effect on humanity?
- What does this part of the story tell us about God? How does it relate to God’s justice, love, and mercy toward sinners?
- How has this helped you today? In what ways can we live differently to alleviate the agony of sin from ourselves and our family?
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