Sunday, January 4, 2015

Take and Eat

It is the beginning of January, which means starting my Chronological Bible once again.  For two glorious chapters, we have the story of how "in the beginning, God created heaven and earth" (Genesis 1:1).  Everything good and perfect. 

Just two short chapters and then it all falls apart.  I’m not really sure how many times I have read these chapters.  The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.  Today the Holy Spirit challenged me in new ways with this familiar story.     
Genesis 3:1:  “Did God really say…?”  The serpent starts off with a question intended to plant doubt.  He’s implying that God has placed them in the Garden and left them with no food.  That God is not looking out for them.  That He is not loving or trust-worthy.  That He put all this temptation around them and cruelly expects them to starve to death surrounded by food. 
This is still Satan’s ‘modus operandi’ - God is holding back, keeping you from enjoying all the good things of life.  He can’t be trusted to take care of you so you’ve got to take care of yourself.
At that point, Eve should have exercised her authority and told the serpent to be quiet.  After all, God had given Adam and Eve dominion over all creatures, including over every ‘creeping thing’ (1:26). 

But, instead of exercising that control, Eve chose to allow the creature to control her.  How often do I allow the things of life to control me, instead of the other way around?

Instead of walking away, Eve takes the bait.  At first she seems to be trying to stick up for God.  She tells the serpent that God said they couldn’t eat of just the one tree. 
But then she puts additional words in God’s mouth:  “neither shall you touch it” (3:3).  Looking back, however, that’s not completely true.  While God did tell them not to eat of it (2:17), she’s added an additional restriction. 
It’s as if she’s starting to buy into the serpent’s view of God as not having her best interest at heart.  She’s making God unreasonable, already mentally justifying her disobedience.  How often do I add to God’s good rules, turning them into something restrictive instead of loving?
The serpent keeps pushing.  That tree will make you like God.  God doesn’t want that.  Why not?  Could it be He’s worried that you’ll become more powerful, more wise? 

The truth is, Eve was already “like God” (3:5).  God had created Adam and Eve in His own image (1:27).  She didn’t need to take anything in to become what God had placed in her.  How often do I look to outward sources to fulfill what God alone has already provided? 

The seed planted, Eve now looks at the tree in a new way.  Suddenly she notices how lovely it is.  How good the fruit is.  She sees it as the source of wisdom and of making up what is lacking due to God’s neglect.  And so, “she took of its fruit and ate” (3:6).  Instead of life and wisdom, her act of rebellion brought death and despair. 

Today, we are invited to ‘take and eat’, but not of part of creation.  Instead, we are invited to ‘take and eat’ of the Creator Himself, the very One against whom we rebelled. 

Our first parents condemned us all to death, but in His love and grace and power, God did not leave us where we deserved to be.  Jesus came and became the sacrifice that brought life from death, reversing the curse.  Through His obedience, Jesus crushed the serpent’s head and was given all authority in heaven and on earth. 

I know that there will be times in the new year when I will be tempted to doubt.  When life will seem too difficult and it will be easy to fall to temptation.  Satan is a brutal enemy, and will attack when I am vulnerable. 

In those moments, I pray I will remember this story and the insights the Holy Spirit has given me.  That I will choose to live in the truth of the Resurrected Christ, not in the squished remains of a crafty, and ultimately dead, liar.

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