Pride goes before a fall- 10 Sunday in the year 2018 B

Friends, it is important for us Christians to remember that the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis were not written to reproduce historical details in our present meaning but to teach religious truth on the faith of Israel and the necessity of salvation history beginning with the call of Abraham in chapter 12 verse 1. From the beginning humans who God created good to his image did what evil and were ungrateful for all the gifts God bestowed on them.

Humans did not see the reason to be grateful and thank and worship their creator. She became her own master and did what she wanted. The result was chaos. They did not was not just insult to God but to themselves and to fellow human beings. Abel murdered his brother Cain (Deut 4). The first and Gospel readings of this Sunday is a prove of the saying that pride goes before a fall (Prov16:18). This is demonstrated in the lives of Adam and Eve, Pharisees and Sadducees who in their blind pride lost all the blessings.

In today's first reading (Genesis 3: 9-15) we have a poetic picture of what our first parent Adam and Eve did and what it had for consequences. The author gives a background to Abraham's call.

"Where are you?" Adam believed he could hide from God. Probably, he understood that he had sinned and brought punishment upon himself and therefore he tried running away from taking responsibility for the consequences of his action. By becoming disobedient to God's command, Adam brought humiliation and shame upon himself. Adam had not become like God but had become less than man. Being naked or without clothes was a sign of subordination and slavery (Rev. 28:48). War captives were stripped naked to humiliate them (Isaiah 20: 4; 47: 3, Jer 13:26; Ezk 16:37). Instead of gaining freedom, Adam's disobedience caused by his pride led to shame and humiliation.

Often, I wonder what the mentality people really are made when I see all the cruelty that takes place around the world. Adam indirectly accused God by accusing Eve who he received from God. From the very beginning, people have done everything not to take responsibility for their actions. Eve tried to avoid responsibility by blaming the Serpent: "The Serpent deceived me, so I ate." Here the Serpent is to be understood as an evil force that is an enemy of God who wants to make us enemies to God. This seems clear from the context. He talks to the woman and lies: "You will be like God." The punishment of the Serpent is a sign of God's victory: "On your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat for all your days of life." Going on one's belly before a victor was a sign of one's subordination in the same way as eating dust while facing the ground.

God does not place enmity between the physical Serpent and the physical woman but a moral opposition between the woman and what the serpent symbolizes. Enmity can only exist between intelligent agents and it indicates that the Serpent was a symbol of an intelligent creature. The victory over the Serpent, the enemy of God and man becomes the first indication of the blessing that Abraham's call would mean. Therefore, Christian writers call this the proto-gospel-the first good news. Although it isa tragic commentary on human weaknesses that sin has been from the very beginning, it can at the same time be a comfort that God's care and love are greater than our weaknesses. Man's foolish desire to become autonomous and to be equal to God is the cause of all sin in the world. Yes, pride goes before a fall. Have humans stopped playing God? Not yet.

Temptations have always been a part of the world's history. People tend to fall for temptations. Through all the Psalms, King David continually prays for God's protection, saying, "Save me, LORD, from evil, protect me from those who are violent, deliverance from evil enemies" (Psalm 140: 1).

Every weekday morning in synagogues around the world, Jewish people open their sabbaths (prayer books) and read a prayer like this: "May it be your will, HaShem, my God and my ancestors God, that you save me today and every day from brothers and brazenness, from an evil man, an evil companion, an evil neighbour, an evil mishap, the destructive spiritual impediment [‘Satan’], a harsh trial and a harsh opponent, whether he is a member of the covenant or whether he is not a member of the covenant.”  (The Complete Artscroll Siddur)

The last part of the Lord's Prayer on deliverance from temptation and evil is rooted in both ancient and modern Judaism. Evil is a living reality that cannot be taken for granted without serious consequences not only to those concerned but for those around them.

The final defeat of pure evil is an excellent reason to shout praise to God. It reminds us as believers that our God is victorious. Despite our circumstances, he is still on the throne. He alone has the last word over us, not our earthly superiors or those who may not have our best interests at heart. God has redeemed each of us from eternal condemnation which our sin requires, through the blood of the Messiah Jesus. The gospel is proclaimed to God's glory and honour and not for any person's own gain...

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