Jump Start # 2336
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”
Our verse today, yet another conversation that God allows us to drop in on, takes place in the garden of Eden. Paradise. The perfect world. Adam and Eve came into this world without a history, issues, baggage, family drama, in-law problems, or conflicts with siblings or co-workers. Their world was indeed perfect. They didn’t have to hear politicians ridiculing each other and trying to win your vote. They didn’t have to deal with bad weather, heavy traffic, high prices, or slow service. They didn’t even have kids, not yet. It was just Adam and Eve. I wonder what they talked about? Not the people at church, there was no church. Not the kids. Nothing to complain about. Nothing in their day was bad. Likely, they never felt bad, worried or dealt with pressure, deadlines or stress. There was no economy, so they didn’t have to be concerned about prices. They were naked, so they didn’t have to worry about what to wear or being tired of having to wear the same things over and over.
Their world seems so different than ours, and it was. It wasn’t ruined by sin. It was filled with broken promises, broken vows and broken hearts. No one lied to them. No one let them down. No one cheated them. They never heard curse words. There was no “bad shows” to avoid. No one was addicted to drugs, alcohol or sex.
This chapter introduces us to the serpent, Satan, and sin. There are several things here that we do not know. We don’t know how long after creation this took place. The next day? The next week? The next month? The next year? No one knows. We don’t know what the serpent looked like. Often, he is pictured as a snake wrapped around a tree. His punishment from God was to crawl. It’s rather hard to make a crawling snake crawl any more than he does. It is also interesting, of all the animals in the world, so many are afraid of snakes, including me. Don’t be telling me that there are good snakes. No. The only time “Good” and “snake” belong in the same sentence is when the snake is good and dead. I know some eat mice, but so do cats. We also do not know if the serpent was the only animal that could talk. Eve doesn’t seem to be too shocked to be talking to an animal. We don’t know what language Eve spoke in. And, we do not know what the forbidden fruit was. Whatever it was, it belonged in the garden and man was escorted out and we do not have access to it today.
In our verse, this conversation between the serpent and Eve, a question is asked. The serpent asks, “You cannot eat from any tree in the garden?” Let’s talk about that question.
First, the serpent, or really Satan, knew what God had told Adam and Eve. How was he aware we are not told. He must be listening in.
Second, this question, the first asked in the Bible, paints God as a cruel Master. He puts Adam and Eve in the garden with all these fruit trees but they can’t eat any of them. That’s not what God said, but that’s the image Satan wanted Eve to have. God’s really not the way you think He is. He’s not as good, nor as nice as you would want to believe. But his words were twisted. God had not said that. If that were the case, what was Adam and Eve supposed to eat?
Third, Eve’s reply shows that she understood God’s command. The following verse, Eve says, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of garden God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” It wasn’t every tree that was off limits, just one.
Fourth, the serpent turns the conversation to the one tree that was off limits. This is where Eve missed it. This is where you and I miss it. Eve should have counted all the trees in the garden that she could have eaten from. God had supplied. God was good. God had blessed them. Count the trees in your garden!
Fifth, had Eve seen all that God had provided, she would have been content, thankful and feeling blessed. But now, she felt cheated. She felt neglected. She felt God was holding out on her. One tree was off limits, but all the other trees were good.
I’ve noticed through the years that Satan still likes to use this form of reasoning. He draws our attention to what is out of bounds, off limits, not authorized, not right and from that we forget about everything else.
We do this with worship. Rather than focusing upon the wonderful opportunity to praise and honor God, some only focus upon what’s not allowed. They stand around a forbidden tree and complain. They fail to see all the other trees in the garden. Facebook can be a great tool to connect with others and it can be the voice of Satan if we are not careful. I got a post the other day about someone making wild charges about the church and especially how abusive it is to women because they cannot preach. His statements were not supported by evidence. He said things that were not true. He had no Scriptural backing to his claims. It was simply a voice that would lead the unsuspecting and the untaught to run for the doors. What he failed to do most of all was count the trees in the garden.
We do this with morality. Can’t do this. Can’t do that. We paint a dark picture of boredom, dullness and slavery. This is how some see Christianity. What they want is forbidden fruit. They want to dress immodestly, drink themselves drunk, act immorally, have no responsibility, and laugh all the way to Heaven. That’s what they want. And, they stand around the one forbidden tree complaining about the church, the Bible and God. They want to look like a man but declare that they are a woman. They want to live together without marriage. They want God on speed dial when there is a crisis, but then they don’t want God interfering in their lives. What they fail to do is count the trees in the garden. Christians do have fun, lots of fun. Christians don’t need artificial things such as alcohol or drugs to make them feel good, nor to cope with life. There is a goodness with serving others, being honest and having something worthwhile to do in life other than being selfish.
We do this with our inner thoughts. Satan has us standing around the forbidden tree and all we think about is how terrible and miserable our lives our. Life is so hard, we tell our selves. Gloom and doom is played in the background of our minds. Fear, worry, stress fill our hearts. It’s so hard being a Christian, we are told. It’s so hard to be different. It’s so hard to be the light of the world. Gloom. Doom. Misery. Turn around. Look at all the trees in the garden. Take your eyes off the forbidden tree. Count your blessings. God has answered so many prayers for you. God has forgiven you so many times. God has been there for you.
Satan wants you to stand around looking at what you can’t have. God tells us to turn around and count the trees in the garden. Boy, that would have turned the conversation with Satan. He would have Eve looking at that one tree and how sad it is that God won’t let you have this, but she could have whirled around and counted all the other trees and said, “I don’t need that tree. Look at what I have! God’s been good to me!”
Wish we could do that more. Wish we could count the trees in the garden rather than gather around the one that is forbidden. You are not forsaken, neglected nor forgotten. God has been good to you. If you don’t believe it, just look around and count the trees in your garden!