Monday, January 2, 2012

Disobedience, Excuses, Consequences

We hear many people speak and act flippantly when it comes to Satan; however, the Bible warns us not to do this. The first verse of Genesis 3 tells us why we dare not make light of the devil:

Genesis 3:1a Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

I was talking to my nine year old about Satan a few weeks ago. I asked him, “do you think a lion is clever and crafty?”

After doing the best I could to explain “crafty”, he said, “yes”. I went on to ask him, “if you were in a jungle and a pride of lions wanted to get you, would you have much of a chance against them?” He said, “no”.

After he conceded that he wouldn’t have a chance against the lions, I told him that the Bible says that Satan is more crafty than any beast of the field. That means, when it comes to craftiness, cleverness, and deceit the lion is no match for the devil.

This crafty serpent made one little suggestive question to deceive Eve. We see Satan doing this same thing in false religions today; suggestive questions like, “Does the Bible really say…?” OR statements like, “the Bible was written by men, we can’t be sure after all this time we have the actual Word of God.”  If Eve had been aware of the craftiness of the enemy, maybe she wouldn’t have been deceived by this one little question:

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

Then Eve foolishly engages the serpent in a conversation and he has his way. He leads Eve down the very path that got him cast out of Heaven, and the very thing he uses to fuel the false religions today, the desire to be as God:

Genesis 3:2-5 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Then Eve reasoned within herself to justify her sin. Take a look at verse 6 and you decide whether it looks familiar to our justification of sin. “It looks tasty.” “It looks good.” “I have a desire to have it and damn the consequences.”

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Eve reasoned that it was “desirable to make one wise.” However, the Lord makes it clear to us in His Word that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; not willful and deliberate disobedience.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

Then we see human nature in its typical form as both Adam and Eve provide us with the first two episodes of finger pointing, and excuse making in human history:

Genesis 3:12-13 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." 13 And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

As I write this I can’t help but wonder, if Adam and Eve just assumed responsibility for their actions and fessed up to their disobedience do you think God would have slapped them (and the rest of mankind) with the consequences of this original sin? Whatever the case may be, they didn’t, they made excuses and Adam even blamed God. The consequences is spelled out in the rest of Genesis 3. Although women can't imagine a pain-free child birth, and men can't imagine providing for their families without hard work and struggle; the fact is, that wasn’t the original plan. If it was the original plan why would God make a point to say:

Genesis 3:16-19 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." 17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."

Not only do we see the craftiness of Satan, the original sin, the original excuse, and the original consequence; we also see the first blood sacrifice for sin. God had originally intended for man and women to live naked and without shame; however, now that they had eaten from the forbidden tree they were aware of their nakedness and filled with shame. To cover that shame an animal had to die to provide their covering:

Genesis 3:21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

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