What a week! Aside from all of this week’s news I’ve been spending time in personal thought and reflection. I’ve been studying Genesis and it’s amazing what the Holy Spirit will reveal to you, about yourself, in just the first few pages of the Bible. So far, I’ve learned a great deal about why God created man - to worship Him, to receive His blessings and rejoice in them, to rule over the earth and take care of His Creation, to live in relationship with Him, and relationship with other human beings, and to be creative in our work and choice of how we will worship Him. I’ve also gleaned a great deal about why we don’t necessarily fulfill His original purposes - sin.
God gave man boundaries. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die. (Gen. 2:16-17) Boundaries are everywhere, and God gave man his first boundaries to teach us restraint. Boundaries teach respect for others, they teach us our place, they formulate our concept of right vs wrong. God’s boundaries help us to know our place.
Reading more into Genesis we see that man was created to be reliant upon God. We are made in the image of God, which means we share some characteristics, such as the ability to think, reason, and plan, but we must realize that our abilities have bounds, but God’s abilities are boundless. As I wrote in a previous post - For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) When we reach the boundaries of our own abilities, we are supposed to rely on God to do the rest. When we don’t rely on Him, when we try to do it ourselves, what a mess we can make!
We don’t have a whole lot of information about Adam and Eve, but we know how they were created, that he was male and she was female, and we can see that he was extraordinarily happy to have her as a suitable helper (Gen. 2:23), we know they were naked and felt no shame (Gen. 2:25), and we know what they were instructed to do and not to do (Gen. 2:16). We have only one story of their life together and it is quite revealing about life today.
I won’t post the whole of Gen. 3, here, but do read it when you have some time. I do want to focus on the final verses. To catch you up to speed, if you haven’t read it in a while, the serpent, the snake, asked Eve if God really said they shouldn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve responded, affirmatively, the serpent told her God’s warning was ridiculous, she agreed, and she took some of the fruit, ate it and gave some to Adam who was with her.
A few verses later, God is there in the Garden and calls for them.
10He [Adam] answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11And he [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Several things about this exchange strike me.
Adam had the ability to prevent the sin, but chose not to. (v. 6) How often do we stand by as witnesses to sin, but fail to act? We see it, but keep quiet. We choose to mind our own business not realizing that the consequences may become ours to bear, too. Paul tells us No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13) We cannot stand by and observe sin. Our own words might just be someone’s way out! We might be that voice that helps someone bear their temptation without falling. We have to speak up.
Adam says he was afraid. We were not made to fear - we were made to reverence God, to revere Him to stand in awe, to trust Him, to work with our hands, to be obedient, to love. Fear is one of the results of sin.
Adam blamed God for his sin. “The woman you put here with me…” How often do we blame God when we fall short? How often do we blame God when things don’t go our way? If we read the preceding portion of Genesis, we see that everything God did was good - very good. God even provided light to separate the darkness. He is not to blame for our sin. He doesn’t tempt us. He gives us hard lessons, but not the temptation to sin. If we trace our hardships back to where they started, it’s likely we will find ourselves making a poor decision, breaking a boundary, choosing to sin when there was a clear Godly alternative,
Adam blamed Eve for his sin. Eve blamed the serpent for her sin. Hence the title of this week’s post. Step one - be honest with yourself. When we believe our own lies, no progress can be made. Until we are honest about the causes of our own situation, God cannot help us. We remain in bondage to sin, we will be banished from the garden and suffer consequences indefinitely. God will not dwell within a sinful heart. If He cannot dwell there, He cannot guide. If we cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit because we are so engulfed in the pleasures of our own sin, then so be it - He allows us free will.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
Blessings this week!