Summary: Part 3 of my O.T. Sermon series "Our Favorite O. T. Stories." Lessons from the fall. What is it that tempts us to sin? How do we overcome temptation? There is power in putting ourselves in second place.
Trouble in Paradise
Last week we were in Paradise. We left Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. At that point their life was perfect. Their relationship with God was perfect. God made it a habit of walking in the Garden with them every evening, personally teaching them the truth. By the way I believe that is one of the Old Testament appearances of Christ. Any time you have God appearing in human form in the Old Testament, that is Christ. So Adam and Eve had Christ Himself teaching them every day. Can you get a closer relationship to God than that?
So at the end of Chapter 2 of Genesis everything is perfect. Adam and Eve are in paradise. But even then we have the hint of bad things to come.
I. The Fall.
Genesis 2:15-17 (NLT)
The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
What a strange command. What was the big deal about the fruit of that one particular tree? It didn’t look poisonous. Actually it looked pretty good. But God made a huge deal about Adam and Eve not eating this particular fruit off this particular tree. Yet, that is the one command that God gave Adam and Eve.
By Jesus’ day there was over 1,000 commandments. At Mount Saini Moses was given 10 commandments. But Adam and Eve had only one. Do not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do not break this one command. Yet, they couldn’t keep that one command.
We are going to come back and look at Genesis chapter 3 in a moment, but I want you to think about how quickly things went downhill. Think about the guilt that Adam and Eve felt after committing that first sin. Possibly the worst guilt came from what they saw in their children. Right off the bat it seemed like their kids were leaning away from God. They seemed bent on their own destruction. They witnessed their first born, Cain, killing their son Abel. And then the grand-kids came along and sin seemed to spread further and further. It seemed like each generation plotted new ways to rebel against God. Murder, multiple wives. They cheated. They stole. Things got worse and worse.
Just how bad did it get.
Genesis 6:5-6 (NLT)
The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.
This is talking about the days from Adam to Noah. And during that time mankind broke God’s heart. Every thought all the time was totally evil. It was a completely self-absorbed culture. All they cared about was their pleasure, their happiness. All they cared about was getting ahead and they didn’t care who they hurt as long as they got what they wanted.
The culture in Noah’s day is very much like things are today in our culture worldwide.
Let me give you a little picture of what some of the immigrants here in the United States faced back in their home country.
One immigrant is here because of the gangs that controlled her village. She used to make $10 a day with which she had to feed and care for herself and her child. A gang moved into her village and said, “If you don’t give us $5 a day we are going to kill your son.” She immediately told them no because there was no way to properly care for her child on less than $5 a day.
That same gang told another woman in the village who only made $5 a day that if she did not give them $2 a day they would cut off her hands. She refused because she knew that she could not feed her 3 children and herself with only $3 a day. What did the gang do about her refusal to pay? They cut off her hands. Now she must beg for scraps to feed her children. Seeing this and knowing that this gang would kill her son this immigrant, who now attends our Spanish service, fled to the U.S.
But the same kinds of things are happening here in the U.S. This past week many of us received a phone call warning us of a dangerous thief who was loose in our county. That night for the first time in a very long time I locked my doors and protection was very close at hand.