The Hope of a Child

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

When God declared this judgment on the serpent, He declared hope for all mankind.  That old serpent, the devil, the one who had by his deceit brought sin into this world, would finally be defeated by one born of a woman.

Throughout Scripture, that hope was unfolded in greater and greater revelation of God’s plan.  Eve expressed confidence in that promise, even though she was mistaken in applying it to her firstborn:

Genesis 4:1

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

That hope of a child, the seed of the woman, was further explained and enhanced when, through Isaiah, it was revealed by God that this promised one would be born of a virgin.  “Her seed” meant exactly that, not “hers and his”, but hers, a miraculous birth.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

That hope was further elaborated when Isaiah reported the God-given promise that this expected Child would be more than just a man, but the Mighty God.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The famous verse in Micah 5:2, about Messiah coming out of Bethlehem, is followed in verse 3 with another reference to His mother giving birth.

Micah 5:2-3

2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

Ultimately, of course, this was all fulfilled in Christ, born of a virgin, the seed of the woman.

Matthew 1:20-23

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

This all happened in God’s perfect time, to accomplish God’s perfect plan of redemption.

Galatians 4:4-5

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

That purpose of redemption thus reveals the part about the bruising of the head and the bruising of the heel.  For to redeem us, Jesus died, but then rose again, that Satan might be destroyed.  The seed of the woman was wounded but overcame it, that in doing so, that old serpent’s doom was sealed.

Hebrews 2:14-15

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Genesis 3:15, then, the promise of the seed of the woman who would crush the serpent, was a promise of hope.  It’s a hope that has its echo in every birth.  God has placed within us a universal sense, one that is only crushed by the most sinful thought patterns, that the birth of a child is a wonderful, hopeful, joyous, thrilling thing.  It’s an echo which He placed in us of the hope of that One Child who would be born, who would bring to lost humanity the hope of salvation.

Whose heart is not touched and pleased to hear the happy husband tell of his coming child, to see the smile of the wife as she discusses due dates and baby clothes and all that stuff with others?  Who does not rejoice with their friends when the child is born?

There is something special, glorious, magnificent, hopeful, about the birth of a child.  It is God-given and virtually universal, something that even the politicians latch onto by claiming to be the ones that best provide the fulfilment of that hope.  But the hope isn’t there just to be a vehicle for politicians to win votes, it was put there by God to teach us of the real HOPE.

And that real HOPE, the world cannot really escape.  The world knows there is something special, glorious, magnificent, and hopeful about the birth of Christ, too.  They may turn the remembrance of it into materialism, debauchery, drunkenness, and all other kinds of excess, because that’s what the world does, but they still know there is something special about that birth and that Child.

No other birth has ever been commemorated around the world, and for more than a millennium.  Even the unbelievers sing “Glory to the newborn king,” “God and sinners reconciled,” and “Come and behold Him, born the king of angels.”  Millions of unbelievers have enjoyed the story of a Saviour’s birth, even if they have never believed in the reason for which He came.

When God told of the seed of the woman that would bruise the serpent’s head, He established HOPE.  It was HOPE in the face of the greatest tragedy the world has ever seen, the tragedy that brought into the world the sin that has caused every other tragedy.  And He irrevocably connected hope with childbirth, putting within all humanity a recognition of that connection.  It is one of the signposts He established as pointing to that ultimate Child and that ultimate Hope.

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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