One of the greatest characteristics of our God is that He is a God of mercy. As a little girl who was in love with books, the Bible quickly became one of those books which I read over and over and the Old Testament was my favorite place to be.
I was fascinated by the story of the Israelites – the cyclical falling into sin, repenting, being forgiven, living righteous for a while, falling into sin, repenting, being forgiven, etc..
It was fascinating, and I would ask myself at ten years old, “Who are these people? Don’t they get it? And this their God…, why doesn’t he get tired of them? Clearly, it’s a pattern, they’re gonna do it again. So why does he keep taking them back???”
Little did I know that I was being exposed to one of the greatest aspects of God’s character – His unfailing love & undying mercy towards humankind.
Unfortunately, in the telling of the Bible Story, this mercy has always been quickly focused on people of God as a nation or individual men with whom God made covenant.
There’s hardly any focus on the first woman to receive the promise and hope of God’s mercy…no wonder the proponents of patriarchy will go on to make the kingdom of God a hostile place for women! In ignoring God’s merciful attendance and devotion to Eve, the very first of all women in His kingdom, such patriarchal teachings have succeeded in somehow conveying that God hates women and or doesn’t think much of them. No wonder, they can make the argument that God wouldn’t want women leading his people!
They are able to do this because they either missed or deliberately gloss over the fact that the first woman, Eve, is not only recorded in the Scriptures for her sin, but also for the fact that she actively hoped in God’s mercy and promised deliverance!
Thus, we must ask the question, has it been anywhere shown in the entire Bible that in the character of our God He withheld mercy from anyone? Has His indiscriminate mercy and grace not indeed been the foundation of Christian hope and belief?
Yesterday, we saw that contrary to what we’ve been exposed to in Scripture, and despite the complete avoidance of the verses concerning Eve, Scripture clearly shows that it was a woman to whom God made the first promise of deliverance. That promise that has been re-offered to generation after generation, was fulfilled in Christ and re-made to us.
Today, we will go forward to show that it was a woman with whom God first made covenant – the covenant that over time extended to Noah, Abraham, David and was finally and irrevocable ratified in Jesus. It was in and through Eve, that humans first became connected to God as ‘their god,’ a choice that God has always asked of those with whom He was in relationship.
What concluded itself in Jesus was God’s comforting promise to the first woman, Eve and today we will look at how Eve responded to this promise of hope and mercy that she received from God.
Scripture doesn’t tell us much about Eve’s remorse or repentance after the Fall. There are no words expressing that. However, just one verse of a chapter after Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden, we see Eve is the first of the two humans to express faith and hope for deliverance through God’s mercy.
“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” (Gen.4:1)
With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man…why this particular sentiment if not that Eve’s heart was looking towards God’s promise?
Eve’s declaration at this point is no different than Mary’s recognition of the favor upon her life when she realizes she is to bear the Messiah. However, unlike Mary, whose promise was in the ‘now’ as we can ascertain from the angel’s telling her about Elizabeth’s pregnancy and so dispelling any thoughts of a ‘long wait,’ Eve just saw the birth of her first son as a fulfillment of promise from God. The promise of deliverance.
It isn’t long before we also see that deliverance isn’t certainly coming through this son, who ended up killing his brother, Abel. Yet, Eve never gave up hope.
A few verses later, Eve has another son and this time, a dramatic change occurs in human existence with the birth of this son. People began to ‘look to God!’
“Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him. Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.” (Gen.4:25-26).
It is a matter of significance that it is Eve who responds to the birth of their offsprings, not Adam and Eve, not Adam. Just Eve. Let this point not be obscured in the retelling of the biblical narrative anymore, because it has high importance in telling us that Eve, who’d just been extruded from the first home she’d known on earth, with the promise of redemption through her offspring, was actively looking towards that redemption every time she gave birth.
Eve, the one who was directly mentioned in God’s first promise to His creation, was the one who had cause to look towards and hope in her offspring.
No wonder, like many people of color, she named her children after her hope. Henceforth, in Israel’s history, we will see mothers such as Leah (Gen.29-30) who looked to God for deliverance, express their hope for this deliverance in the names of their children. But back to Eve…
So Eve somehow knew redemption wasn’t coming through Cain, but she put her expectations in the next child. Although that child didn’t turn to be her Redeemer, his birth also led to the preparation of hearts of humans to return to God. For it was with the birth of Eve’s third son that humans began to ‘call upon God!’
Advent, that period of waiting and expectation, is also an active period of preparation for the awaited promise. And just as God has given us much to be prepared with: prayers, worship, good deeds, etc., may we also remember that we continue on the practice of our mother, Eve who knew and believed in God’s mercy because she’d experienced it firsthand!
Therefore, Eve, not Adam, directly confessed her confidence in God’s character of mercy, which inevitably gives us hope for the promised future. Eve.
Eve’s hopeful waiting for the promised deliverance laid the ground work for the covenanted people of God to inherit the promises. She expressed her hope in the name of her son, and it wasn’t long before others around learned to express a similar hope in God, enough to call upon him!
As we continue this season of Advent, may we as women and people of God, be so consumed by our hope for the second coming of Christ that we learn how to express it like Mother Eve in the names we call ourselves, our children, our businesses, our dreams and desires, etc., and by so doing, create such an awareness of the promises we have received in Jesus Christ, but which started in Eve. And may the awareness we create by our named hope, cause all our communities and spheres of influence to being to ‘call upon the name of the LORD!’