The Tempter

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Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent …said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not 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.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

This is the story that some refer to as “the fall” – when human defiance of God’s clear instruction introduced conflict between God and humanity (what we call “sin”). Here are some things to reflect upon this morning:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

God’s rule was simple. “Do not eat of that tree”. Not hard to understand. Yet, Adam and Eve found a way to rationalize their disobedience. Fruit looks yummy! And who wouldn’t want to be wise? Wisdom is a good thing, right? Not in this case.

1 Now the serpent …said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Adam and Eve messed up, but they had help. One of the names for Satan is “the tempter”. The tempter cannot make us do anything, he can only encourage disobedience. Eve didn’t desire the forbidden fruit until the tempter pointed it out to her. Very sneaky.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not 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.”

Here the serpent questions God’s motives for making the rule in the first place. God didn’t make the rule for the peoples’ protection – but to keep them down.

It’s easy for us to read this story of Genesis 3 and think we might have done better. But the truth is that Satan’s simple manipulations revealed in Genesis 3 often work today, leading us away from God.

Where might the enemy be tempting you today? Where in your life might you be rationalizing sinful behavior?

Heavenly Father, the scriptures have a lot to teach us. First, we acknowledge there is a spiritual enemy of all things holy – the one called Satan. Give us grace to be aware when we are being manipulated. Give us the humility we need to follow your ways rather than question them. And help us to trust that you always want what’s best for us. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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