Monday, September 6, 2010

Walking Through the Garden

If we turn to Genesis 3:1-13 we see the story of Eve and the Serpent having a conversation. Does this stir anyone else? Let's just put this picture together for a moment. We have this beautiful garden. We have Eve, the most beautiful woman ever created and we have a Serpent. Now, this Serpent isn't just any Serpent. Um, it is talking to Eve. Hello? A speaking Serpent? As we look at this story, Eve isn't running away. It doesn't say that Eve was fearful of this Serpent. She was simply having a conversation with this Serpent. So, did all the animals in the garden speak? Why was this instant not one that Eve would look at and think, "Okay, God, I know you created some amazing things, but what is going on here? This snake is talking to me." It is almost as though it is just natural. No big deal that she is talking to a snake. Even Adam comes along. He named all the animals. Wouldn't he be screaming at her to get away if it was dangerous?
It just makes me wonder if all the animals spoke. Were Adam and Eve surrounded by animals that could carry on a conversation or was this just one instance? Or could it be that when a deceiver is near us many times all seems right and perfect? Could it be that as Satan charmed his way into Eve's life he made it appear that all was normal? That is a scary thought, isn't it? But isn't that how Satan works? Isn't that how we are deceived in the first place? We are blinded by temptation and to us either all seems right and perfect or we just want it to be for our own fleshly needs.

I find it also interesting that the Serpent went to Eve first and not Adam. Was it easier to deceive Eve? Since Adam new all the animals by name, could he indeed have known this character was of a different skin?

Listen to this story in Genesis 3:1-7 "The Serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, 'Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?' 'Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,' the woman replied. 'It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.' 'You won't die!' the Serpent replied to the woman. God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.' The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves."

Notice how the Serpent twisted words to make Eve wonder? Notice how he enticed her? She knew what God had said, but the Serpent made it sound as though she deserved more. Isn't that just like us? We know what God tells us. We understand His instruction, but some how we listen to the world tell us we deserve it. So, she takes the fruit and has a bite. I find it interesting the tree in is the middle of the garden. Isn't that usually where we find temptation? Right smack dab in the middle of our lives? Wherever we are there is temptation waiting, and here we find Eve giving up herself for one bite. We too give up ourselves for one night, one moment. And in that moment we lose all sense of right and wrong our lives are changed forever. Just as Adam and Eve.

My husband has this keen ability to tell if something just isn't right. In our marriage he has never been wrong about his instinct. I believe that is a God given gift to us for our protection. Where was Adam? He was not there while Eve was being tempted. If so, maybe things would have been different.

I am one to trust everyone and give everyone a chance. Maybe that was Eve. Maybe in her heart she wondered, but she also wanted to see what would happen. I too am like Eve in that way. Too many times I know what is right, but in the midst of my flesh I go about what I think I want instead of what God says I need.

We too love to blame others. Adam is blaming Eve and Eve is blaming the Serpent. Do we ever want to take the blame for our failures? Isn't it easier to blame another? We tend to not want to take responsibility for our actions.

There are times I just need to listen to the wisdom of my husband. There are times I ignore his wisdom and go out on my own. It takes me a few times around the wrong road before I learn I need to make a u-turn. Isn't that what Eve needed to do? She needed to back away and remember what her God said. She needed to seek out the wisdom of her husband. Instead she reached out for that temptation and grabbed it with both hands, not thinking of the consequences for her actions. She didn't even think about how it would affect Adam. What was she thinking? Isn't it easy for us to ask that question? I would have been right there standing next to that Serpent just as Eve. I can hope I would react different, but there is nothing saying I would. I cannot judge her. I too have fallen into temptation.

We can learn a great deal here. We can learn to think before we act. We can learn that our actions have consequences to follow. I can see that I should seek out my God and His ways, but also follow the guidance of my husband. Now, could Adam have made the same mistake? Sure he could have. He did make mistakes. He blamed Eve. Adam too had a choice and he didn't make a wise decision. We are to stand together in marriage. We are to lift one another up and help one another to walk in the right path, keeping each other from falling into temptation.

Evil can wrap itself up into a pretty package and make us think it is a wonderful gift to ourselves. Evil can trap us into thinking just one bite and all will be fine. Evil deceives us before we realize it is a snake wrapped in Satan's clothes.

James 1:12-17 "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow."

James 1:22-25 "But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it."


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