My first grade teacher was the principal’s wife, so we often enjoyed the privilege of her husband stopping by our class parties. Mr. Madison embodied the same magical presence as Santa Claus, so when he stopped at my table and looked at the tree I was drawing, my heartbeat sped up. He showed me how to make a few of the branches look more natural by drawing a little circle at the end. I tried it on a few branches, and wow! This little touch changed everything! Before long, my tree was looking so artistic! I was so proud and wanted to show it off to Mr. Madison. He took one look at my circle laden branches and gave a big Santa belly laugh, and my cheeks felt hot. He wasn’t trying to embarrass me, but I felt so ashamed. His reaction opened my eyes, and I realized that I had misunderstood his instructions. Rather than enhancing my tree by drawing circles at the end of a few branches, I added circles to every branch, making it appear naked.
Adam & Eve felt no shame
…until their eyes were opened, and they were led to believe there was something wrong with being naked. But who fed them that lie?
In Genesis chapter 3 the enemy is at work as soon as Adam and Eve are joined together in marriage and called to live out the mission that God has for them:
– to rule and subdue the earth (authority)
– to increase and multiply (adventure)
– to walk with God and get to know Him deeply (relationship)
Genesis 3:1-7 (NIV)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
This moment of temptation is the first time in scripture you see human beings exercise their free will, but God built it into them from the beginning. They were choosing to walk with God in the garden, to obey and enjoy relationship with Him.
The enemy disguises himself as a serpent and approaches Adam and Eve in a deceptive way – he mocks their Creator by making His command sound rather silly, “Can it really be true – what I’ve heard – that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The enemy is right there in the garden, waiting to engage in battle, and he starts by questioning God’s instructions.
This is what God actually said:
Genesis 2:16,17 (NIV)
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
The serpent fed Eve a lie, and she bit right into it. He fed into her insecurity by questioning whether she heard God’s instructions right. Then he made her feel guilty for not really knowing what God actually said. He twisted the truth just enough to give Eve a twisted view of God’s plan for her.
She grew suspicious of a trustworthy God based on the lies of an untrustworthy snake.
The enemy’s lies all lead to shame, guilt and insecurity.
You can be easily deceived when you don’t know what God’s Word actually says. Your time with God each day makes His Word your most powerful weapon against the enemy.
Eve made a decision not to raise her sword, even though she was equipped with everything she needed for life and godliness.
I Peter 1:3 (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
She knew what it was like to follow the rules and be loved by God, but she wondered what it would be like to not always be the good girl. What if she was missing out on something?
This is when I wish Adam would have stepped in as her partner in battle to remind her of what God had said regarding the tree. They were created to be a powerful team, engaging in battle together so that God’s mission could be fulfilled.
Adam & Eve were standing in the midst of overwhelming evidence of God’s goodness, but neither of them spoke up for God. Neither of them spoke to God.
Rather than defend each other, they each chose to go it alone and were overpowered. If they had stuck together in this battle, with God’s help, they could have overcome the enemy together.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Adam & Eve chose to try to become like God without Him – without walking the long road of faith and obedience – without doing the hard work of forging a relationship with Him.
The sad truth was they believed an empty promise of a shortcut. The serpent’s promise was a lie. Adam & Eve did desire to be like God, but their disobedience and lack of faith drove them away from Him.
Feeling shame usually points to casting blame.
Adam & Eve gave up life as they knew it. The blessings of relationship, adventure, and authority were traded away.
The punishment included banishment from the garden of Eden, pain in childbirth, and hard soil for planting. It was a curse that the man and woman had to live with, but it didn’t include death. Not physical death. At least not for Adam & Eve.
God’s grace is present even in these first chapters of the Bible.
God promises victory over the enemy, and He promises a Savior when He speaks this curse over Satan:
Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
“…And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
“You will strike his heel” refers to Satan’s repeated attempts to defeat Christ during HIs life on earth.
“He will crush your head” foreshadows Satan’s defeat when Christ rose from the dead.
A strike on the heel isn’t deadly.
A crushing blow to the head is.
God requires payment for sin because He is holy.
Genesis 3:21 (NIV)
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Think about where the garments of skin came from. Paradise had never seen death, and now innocent animals were killed to clothe Adam & Eve to cover their shame, to cover their sin, and to make payment for their sin so that they could live and not die. If you have been saved by the blood of Jesus, then this storyline is familiar. Jesus Christ was innocent, and He was killed to cover our shame, to cover our sin, and to pay for our sin so that we can live!
Eve’s life beyond the Garden of Eden was different. Her world, her life, her body, her marriage, her work, her relationship with God – all changed forever. There was no going back, but God never turned His back on her.
You can learn a lot about yourself and your relationship with God by looking at Eve’s relationship with God, her relationship with Adam, and the enemy’s attack on both of her relationships.
Read through all of Genesis chapter 3, and ask yourself these two important questions:
What do I learn about God?
What do I learn about myself & my relationship with God?