|Posted on May 7, 2012 at 11:50 AM|
Diets can be maddening because they make it so difficult to stick to your convictions. The plan looks great, with a limit on calories or grams of fat per day and a list of prohibited or acceptable edibles. But when offered a piece of pie, you give in to the temptation, forgetting your diet and your resolution to lose weight. This struggle is real. It’s war.
The beginning of the Bible tells all about the origin of the world, life, people, and work. Closer to home, it explains how a perfect world went wrong and why human beings have struggled since then against all sorts of evil. It tells about temptation.
Everyone struggles with temptation. We are tempted to lie, to cheat, to steal, and to indulge ourselves in countless ways that God has forbidden. We give in because of Satan (Genesis 3:1-6). Temptation is Satan’s invitation to live his kind of life and give up on God’s. Satan tempted Eve and succeeded in getting her to sin; soon after, Adam yielded to the pull of Satan’s tempting offer. So sin entered the world, and every person since has been born a sinner. Today, Satan is busy trying to get us to give in to his temptations.
When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth,
5 there were no plants or grain growing on the earth, for the Lord God had not sent any rain. And no one was there to cultivate the soil.
6 But water came up out of the ground and watered all the land.
7 And the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person.
8 Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had created.
9 And the Lord God planted all sorts of trees in the garden—beautiful trees that produced delicious fruit. At the center of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.
16 But the Lord God gave him this warning: “You may freely eat any fruit in the garden
17 except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.”
Note that God created choice...
God gave Adam responsibility for the garden and told him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Rather than physically preventing him from eating, God gave Adam a choice and, thus, the possibility of choosing wrongly.
God still gives us choices, and we, too, often choose wrongly. These wrong choices may cause us pain, but they can help us learn and grow and make better choices in the future. Living with the consequences of our choices teaches us to think and choose more carefully.
Why would God place a tree in the garden and then forbid Adam to eat from it? God wanted Adam to obey, but God gave Adam the freedom to choose. Without choice, Adam would have been like a prisoner, and his obedience would have been hollow. The two trees provided an exercise in choice, with rewards for choosing to obey and sad consequences for choosing to disobey. When you are faced with the choice, always choose to obey God.
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him.”
21 So the Lord God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. He took one of Adam’s ribs* and closed up the place from which he had taken it.
22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam.
23 “At last!” Adam exclaimed. “She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of a man.”
The Man and Woman Sin
1 Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. “Really?” he asked the woman. “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?"
Disguised as a shrewd serpent, Satan came to tempt Eve. Satan at one time was an angel who rebelled against God and was thrown out of heaven. Satan had a choice before he was thrown out of heaven and he made the wrong choice. Now Satan is busy trying to get you and I to make the wrong choices in our lives.
2 “Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent hissed. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.”
Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and, instead, focus on the one thing she couldn’t have. We fall into trouble, too, when we dwell on the few things we don’t have rather than on the countless things God has given us.
6 The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too.
7 At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.
8 Toward evening they heard the Lord God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees.
After sinning, Adam and Eve felt guilt and embarrassment over their nakedness. Their guilty feelings made them try to hide from God. A guilty conscience is a warning signal God placed inside you that goes off when you’ve done wrong. The worst step you can take is to eliminate the guilty feelings without eliminating the cause. That would be like using a painkiller but not treating the disease. Be glad those guilty feelings are there. They make you aware of your sin so you can ask God’s forgiveness and then correct your wrongdoing.
These verses show God’s desire to have fellowship with us. They also show why we are afraid to have fellowship with him. Adam and Eve hid from God when they heard him approaching. God wanted to be with them, but because of their sin, they were afraid to show themselves. Sin had broken their close relationship with God, just as it has broken ours.
9 The Lord God called to Adam, “Where are you?”
10 He replied, “I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
12 “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “How could you do such a thing?” “The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”
Adam and Eve failed to heed God’s warning recorded in Genesis 2:16-17.
But the Lord God gave him this warning: “You may freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.”
They did not understand the reasons for his command, so they chose to act in another way that looked better to them. All of God’s commands are for our own good, but we may not always understand the reasons behind them. People who trust God will obey because God asks them to, whether or not they understand why God commands it.
Eve and Adam could have resisted temptation by remembering what God had commanded them. We must realize that being tempted is not sin. We have not sinned until we give in to the temptation.
To resist temptation, we must
- Pray for strength to resist (see Matthew 6:13),
- Say no when confronted with what we know is wrong, and
- Run away from the temptation.
Adam and Eve hid from God when they heard him approaching. God wanted to be with them, but because of their sin, they were afraid to show themselves. Sin had broken their close relationship with God, just as it has broken ours.
But Jesus Christ, God’s Son, opens the way for us to renew our fellowship with him. God longs to be with us. He actively offers us his unconditional love. Our natural response is fear because we feel we can’t live up to his standards. But understanding that he loves us, regardless of our faults, can help remove that dread.
Scripture, Notes and Commentary taken from:
New Living Translation Life Application Bible