This phrase occurs twice in the book of Genesis yet under very different circumstances, with far reaching effects. The first occurrence is in Genesis 3 where we have the record of the entrance of sin and the consequent fall of the human race.
In the garden, everything was good as God had made it for the well-being of Adam and Eve. We have the appearance of the serpent and the temptation of Eve in undermining what God had commanded them to observe. The realization of their sin came home to them and the attempt to cover their nakedness and hide from God was to no avail. All is soon brought to light. Adam then seeks to blame the woman that God gave him. She in turn blames the serpent; a true picture of human nature’s unwillingness to accept the responsibility for its actions.
The Lord addresses the serpent first: “Because thou hast done this” (Gen 3:14, 15). A curse is pronounced upon the serpent above all cattle. It is confined to going on its belly and eating dust all the days of its life. This is seen in another Scripture as well. In the restored earth, the serpent will still be in this place under the curse of God (Isaiah 65: 25). But with the curse there is also a promise given in verse 15 of putting enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. He would bruise his head and the serpent would bruise His heel. The statement has often been made, “redemption was no afterthought with God to remedy an unforeseen evil.” This can be traced throughout Scripture, gradually unfolding in greater detail until we reach the person of Christ in the New Testament. The promises to Abraham and David, and the prophecy of the virgin conceiving and bringing forth a Son Whose name would be called Immanuel, all come to mind. Thus, we trace with wonder and joy God’s great plan of redemption. But the cost of their one act of disobedience caused them to be driven out of the garden. Sin, sorrow, and death were the awful consequences upon the human race.
In our second reference (Genesis 22:16), we have a different scene from that which took place in the Garden of Eden. It was on a mountain where God tested Abraham. God told him to take his son, his only Isaac, and offer him on one of the mountains that He would tell him of. He immediately did this and we find them together on the mountain; an altar is built, wood is laid in order, and Isaac is bound and laid on the altar. The knife is raised and at that critical point the angel of the Lord calls out and intervenes in the slaying of Isaac. The hand of Abraham is stayed. A ram is found nearby and offered in the stead of Isaac.
The angel of the Lord calls to him a second time out of heaven. The words are worth adding here: “By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice” (vv 16-18). “Because thou hast done this.” What language flows out from heaven in a divine oath proclaimed to Abraham. A blessing upon his seed is pronounced in multiplying his seed until it reaches to the stars of heaven and descends to the sand on the sea shore. “Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;” and they have had no lack of enemies down through the centuries; enemies whose hatred and desire is to eliminate them from the face of the earth. Those enemies persist even until this present day. Again there is added, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” We might ask why such an outpouring of blessing upon Abraham? He held nothing back when God asked him to offer up his son. Every saved person can rejoice in this for the seed is Christ and the blessing is flowing out around the world to every nation where sinners will obey the gospel. All this is found in that closing statement: “Because thou hast obeyed My voice.” Here is the secret of divine blessing in any dispensation – obedience to the Word of God.