Summary: This is the 2nd message in a series this one covers Genesis 3 and is about temptation in the Garden of Eden and in our lives today. The Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethesmene, & Joseph’s garden
In Jesus Holy Name March 2,2008
Lent IV Series: O.T. Challenges Redeemer
“What Went Wrong?”
Dr. Paul Bretscher in his book, “Cain Come Home” writes: “the weapons of Satan’s testing are many. No child of God escapes the battle….the enemy is crouching at the door…. He desires to have us.” We do live in a secular society with all its temptations and troubles. We are called to be “salt of the earth”, “a light to our world”, seeking to capture the hearts of this world’s inhabitants with our secret weapon…the only one we have. The Spirit of God.”
What went wrong? What went wrong in the world God created? It was a world of perfect harmony and peace.
(read Genesis 3:1-15)
God’s world was good. Adam and Eve lived in the “image of God.” There was unselfish love for one another. Unselfish love! What a great concept and reality. We can only imagine….for we live in and experience a selfish world. In God’s created world man and woman enjoyed the presence of God. They experienced intimacy and the exercise of dominion over a world that God placed into their care.
In Genesis 3 we hear “an alternative voice”, the voice of a slithering serpent. It finds the woman alone and encourages her to think and act alone, without reference to God. What she can not see …she must not fear. Can she see death, which God warned her about? No! Can she see how desirable the fruit on the one tree is to eat? “good for food and wisdom”. “Yes”
James 1:14-15 picks us this theology…”Each person is tempted, when he is lured and enticed by his own desire, then when desire is conceived it gives birth to sin; and sin… brings death.”
Look at the words of the slithering serpent to Eve. They are meant to cause doubt. “Did God really 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!” (slow with a whisper)aaaaaaaahhhhhh “you will not surely die” …for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.
What did God really say? Genesis 2:16 “the Lord God commanded the man… you are free to eat from any tree in the garden but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience can not be blamed on the environment. It was perfect. It can not be blamed on heredity…there were no parents to blame. Satan came with words to create doubt about God’s goodness and love. He took a clear cut command of God and turned it into a topic for debate.
Satan says: “Surely you will not die!” He knows what God had said. He knows they do not know the concept, the experience of evil or death…. It did not exist in their world. The slithering serpent puts doubt in Eve’s mind about God’s love and goodness. His words caused her to believe that God is holding out on her ability to reach her full potential… “you will be like God” knowing good and evil.
The temptation is over. She walks to the middle of the garden….finds the fruit pleasing to the eye… and the desire to be like God…causes her to forget God’s one command and warning. She reaches out her hand. She takes the fruit and eats.
Norman Habel, an Old Testament professor of mine at Seminary wrote: “Satan tempted Eve to believe that she could become wise, it is more than intellectual knowledge. She hoped the fruit would give her skill, ability and wisdom to break into the realm of the divine. In a real sense she saw this as a chance to break her dependence on God.” The real “eye opener” was not that she became a “god”…but now she knows “fear and disgrace.”
V 8 (read) Peace, harmony, intimacy was lost. They are hiding! Satan’s desire then and now was and is…to replace God as ruler of the universe. Sin, selfishness, evil stalks all of creation. Abuse, brutality, and death now fill our world. The image of a God of love is lost. Fear has replaced fellowship. Painful toil and stress replaces their joy of God’s creation.
Temptation to sin is custom made, one of a kind, temptations which Satan has successfully offered to each and every one of us. The devil’s temptations manage to bring each of us down. The seducer Satan, hell’s expert psychologist, has made it his eternal work to woo every one of us into doing things which are wrong, which we know are wrong, which we might never normally do, but which at the moment…seems acceptable and OK.