Summary: In the Beginning, Part 3 of 7.
THE GREATEST DANGER IN THE WORLD
When I was in Chicago for studies two years ago my cousin and his wife bought a box of chocolates for snacks. The chocolates were not popular buys like See’s Candies, Hawaiian Mauna Loa, or Godiva. They were inexpensive, bought from a nearby wholesale supermarket, the brand name was not catchy.
Chocolates are bad for me, they make my throat dry and literally I get sick. Though I declared to my cousin my indifference to chocolates, I couldn’t take my eyes off the box of chocolates the next few days, especially as they lay neglected on the kitchen.
The more I laid my eyes on the chocolates, the more I was drawn to the smooth texture, exquisite packaging, and direct come-ons. What contested my resistance was the shiny clear plastic box, with almond shavings topping the chocolates, and the worst, the wickedly tempting label: “The Elegantly Sinful Sweet Chocolates.?
And finally I caved in! Worse, I discovered they were just ordinary usual standard chocolates. They were not any tastier, newer, or fancier than others I had eaten.
Genesis 3 introduces the doctrine of original sin, the downfall of man, and God’s divine grace. Already man was with God, he had a comfortable home, and everything he did was prim and proper and praiseworthy. Now the bar was raised: he wanted to be like God, not just with God; he was promised infinity and beyond, and he disliked rules and regulations and regimen.
In this passage, we learn of Satan’s tricks, man’s troubles and God’s triumph over our failings. Temptation is not sin, and God tempts no one (Jas 1:13), and man does have a way out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13). What strategy does the devil use? Why do our troubles grow when we submit to temptation? And how is God faithful to His children in their transgressions?
SATAN DECEIVES GOD’S PEOPLE AND SOWS A TRAIL OF DISCONTENTMENT (GEN. 3:1-7)
3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" 2The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.? 4"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
A salesman circled a building block for a long time before he ran out of patience and, in exasperation, parked his car illegally in a no-parking zone. Fearing he would get a ticket, he left this note just in case a policeman might come along: ”I’ve circled this block twenty times. I have an appointment and I must keep it or I will lose my job. Forgive us of our trespasses!?
Upon returning, his worst fears were realized. He found this note on his car: “I’ve circled this block for twenty years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation!?
Satan’s most dangerous tool is deception. The devil is a tempter (1 Thess 3:5), a liar (John 8:44), and an accuser (Rev. 12:10). He is crafty (3:1), he uses words, images, and insinuations to entice God’s people. Someone said, "Sin as a caterpillar is dangerous, but sin as a butterfly is a thousand times worse" (Megiddo Message).
Do you know a question is a double-edged sword? It can either make you think -- positively or negatively? It can make you improve or imagine things. The first question in the Bible was a seductive lie, not a search for truth. It opened a can of worms for Eve: 3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" (3:1)
The first lie of the ancient serpent, also known as the devil, or Satan (Rev 12:9), was in the form of a negative question. Actually, God’s original command was put in the positive form before the prohibition: "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 of it you will surely die." (Gen 2:16-17).