17 ¶ Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)
“Christmas Carols Every Day”
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
On Sunday nights at our little country church, the people sitting in the pews take turns calling out requests for songs that they want the congregation to sing. People pick out songs they like, and we sing them until it’s time for me to preach. My older son, Spencer, usually picks out “It Is Well With My Soul” or a Christmas carol – even if it’s the middle of July. I guess he just likes Christmas carols. And that’s OK with me, especially if he wants to sing “Joy to the World”.
Did you know that, in some ways, “Joy to the World” is not a Christmas carol? Most of the other Christmas carols are taken from the New Testament and tell of the Gospel account of the birth of the Christ child.
But “Joy to the World” is not a New Testament song. It’s actually based on an Old Testament text–Psalm 98 to be exact. And when Isaac Watts wrote the hymn, he wasn’t writing a song about baby Jesus being born in the manger. Instead, he wrote of the coming of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom at the end of the age. So while this song is an excellent carol for Christmas, it’s also a wonderful choice for all other seasons of the year.
My favorite stanza of “Joy to the World” goes like this:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the Curse is found.
It always makes me feel joyful to sing that verse, because it’s such a clear explanation of the nature of our suffering in this life. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden (in response to the lie of Satan), sin and death entered the world. Because of this, Genesis 3 tells us that this present world is fallen, and ruined by “The Curse”. But Jesus Christ has died on the cross and risen from the grave to redeem and restore all things. “He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”
So, here’s what I have come to realize: Very often when people have troubles, they shake their fist in the wrong direction. God is not the cause of our suffering. He created the world in perfection. We need to rightly place our blame and anger. We need to blame Adam, not the Almighty. We must hate the Devil, not the Deliverer. Our suffering comes because of sin, not the Savior. The fault lies with the Curse, not with the Cross.
Several years ago, an older friend of mine was suffering terribly with an awful head cold. He said, “Brother John, I prayed this morning and asked the Lord to take this cold and give it to the devil.” Now that’s what I call understanding where to place the blame! Dear mamas, this fallen world has its share of trouble and sadness. Draw near to the Lord this week, and He will strengthen you and deliver you from the evil one.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is in the middle of his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Walter, the pup in the picture at right with Spencer, now weighs close to 100 pounds!) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.