Jump Start # 1975
Genesis 3:2 “The woman said to the serpent, ‘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 the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
I want to share and expand a point I made in a lesson last evening about thanksgiving. It is interesting in this conversation that the serpent has with Eve, that their discussion surrounds the one tree which was off limits. They talked about that one tree. Eve looked at that one tree. Everything was about that one tree.
One wonders how many other trees were in the garden of Eden. Obviously, there were other fruit trees. Eve quotes God saying that she could eat from all the trees but one. Instead of counting what she had, her attention was drawn to the one tree that she didn’t have. Ingratitude will do that. It will only see what one doesn’t have. Rather than counting the trees that one does have, it focuses upon what it doesn’t have. Just imagine how this Genesis story would have turned out, had Eve taken the serpent for a little stole through the garden. She could have pointed out all the vegetables, ripe and beautiful without a weed growing between them. She could have shown strawberry fields, with plump red strawberries. She could have shown the serpent orchards of apples, peaches and vineyards of ripe grapes. Ripe bananas, just waiting to be picked. Fruit that was bug free and better than any magazine picture. All around and everywhere she looked, there were an abundance of food. Now, I admit, I don’t know what kinds of food God provided. Bananas? Maybe. Strawberries? Why not? Eden was paradise. I don’t envision Adam and Eve barely having anything to eat. I don’t think things were so tough that they had to share an apple. God always supplies in abundance. God is generous. That’s His nature. It would be like walking through the produce section of a grocery store, except, they didn’t have to pay for it. Beautiful. Ripe. Perfect. So much to choose from. Unlike Israel getting manna every day, I expect the Garden provided a great variety.
Where I live there is a huge woods behind my house. Easily, there are more than fifty variety of trees in that woods. I know there are oaks, hickory, birch, maple, poplar, walnut trees. Those are just wild growing natural trees. Can you imagine what God made to sustain Adam and Eve?
Rather than focusing upon what she had, Satan diverted Eve’s attention to what she didn’t have. They didn’t talk about all the wonderful fruit trees that she could eat from. The discussion surrounded the one tree that she couldn’t have. Eve could have easily said, “I don’t need that one tree. Look what I have.” But that didn’t happen. The one tree was all that she could think about. That one tree became her obsession. She forgot what she had and only thought about what she didn’t have.
King David did the same thing. Standing on his rooftop he sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing. A forbidden tree. Rather than counting all the trees he already had, he focused upon what he didn’t have. David was married and had children. Rather than counting his blessings by having loving wives, he only thought about what he didn’t have. Had he counted the trees in his garden, he would have turned around and went back into the palace. Instead, he sent for Bathsheba. A sin was committed.
And here we are. We stand in the same shadows of Eve and King David. Satan wants us to think about and talk about what we don’t have. He wants us to see how we are missing out. Rather than counting the trees that are already in our garden, he wants us to think about that one tree that we can’t have. It fills our mind. We can’t sleep because we think about it. It is what we talk about. If that one tree is forbidden, we start thinking about ways to make it right. Rather than being thankful for the trees in our garden, we become obsessed about getting the one tree that we don’t have.
Ingratitude feeds a complaining spirit. We don’t like what’s in our garden. We deserve better. And life would be so much better, we believe, if we could only have that one tree that is off limits. Oh, we would be so happy if we could only have that one tree. That’s Satan talking. He’s talking and we are listening. Instead of taking a walk through our garden and seeing how blessed we are by God, we stand around that one tree and wonder how we could get it.
Complaining feeds greed and covetousness. We soon buy into the fact that we will never be happy until we have that one tree. Contentment is no where to be found, once Satan has gotten that one tree in our minds. We must have. Some, so desperate to have that tree, will even argue with plain Bible verses, denying what they say, just to find a way to get to that forbidden tree.
So, this week, with Thanksgiving in the air, I want to take us for a walk through the garden that God has provided for us. I want us to look upon the trees that God allows us to have. I want you to see how blessed and how richly God has treated us. From this two things ought to happen. First, we should get our eyes and our thoughts off of that one tree that is forbidden. Second, it ought to make us very thankful for all that God has done for us. He truly has treated us better than we deserve.
The next few days will take us on a walk through our own gardens. I hope you see what God has provided for you. And, I hope, that we will stop listening to Satan and stop the discussion about the one tree that he wants us to eat from, the forbidden fruit.
A walk through the garden…