Summary: God’s ways, words, and wisdom, are questioned in tempting us to sin.
So, three men walk into a museum, one British, one French, one Russian. They stand together admiring a painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The Brit says, “Look at their reserve, their calm. They must be British.”
“Nonsense,” the Frenchman interjects. “They are naked, and so beautiful. Clearly, they are French.”
The third man says, “Look! No clothes, no shelter, they have only an apple to eat, and they are being told this is paradise. They are Russian.”
Well, it is paradise, but not for long. For three months we have thought much about the wonders of creation. Now we must see why mankind was cast from our glorious garden, in the “Beginning of… Temptation.”
[Read Genesis 2.25-3.3. Pray.]
Sister Gwen sent me a story this week about an old Cherokee Indian telling his grandson of the struggle within: “My son, the battle is between ‘two wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute, and then asked: “Which wolf wins?”
The grandfather replied: “The one you feed.”
That story does not tell us everything about our struggle with sin, but it illustrates the problem which the Apostle Paul described in Romans 7.21: “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” There is a battle within; but, there is more, is there not?
At Gettysburg, a general reported to Longstreet (the commanding officer) that he could not bring his men up again. Longstreet answered sarcastically, “Very well, never mind, then; just let them stay where they are. The enemy is going to advance, and that will spare you the trouble.” In addition to the sinful desires we own, the enemy without attacks.
That is why Charles Spurgeon, Daily Help: “We are never out of the reach of temptation. Both at home and abroad, we are liable to meet with allurements to evil. The morning opens with peril, and the shades of evening find us still in jeopardy. They whom God keeps are well-kept, but woe unto those who go forth into the world or even dare to walk around their own houses unarmed. Those who think themselves secure are more exposed to danger than any others.”
In the middle of paradise stood one prohibition. Surrounded by beauty unimaginable to our jaded eyes, and tastes so delicious that Kobe Beef and white truffles would be embarrassed to be plated with these foods, the hearts of Adam and Eve are drawn out to covet the one test of their trust. We call the process of rejecting God’s good wisdom in favor of false and destructive lies, “temptation.”
Adam and Eve did not resist. They gave in, and gave over their posterity to a bent toward rebellion.