“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…….”
Ok, maybe not at the beginning but at Chapter 3. That’s Genesis Chapter 3 to be concise. To start our journey on the messy, we need to see the start of the mess. I know we all know the story and I’m probably not adding anything to it. But before you start to strip the layers of mess around us and in us, we need to see where it started.
God had told Adam that he could eat from any tree in the garden of Eden, except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16-17). I’m sure it was pretty easy to do. I mean there were probably hundreds of fruit trees and berry bushes and other edible plants. But isn’t it always true that the one thing you long for is the one thing you can’t have. If you face addictions with drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, etc….. you long for it. You crave it. It seems to call you. I know when I start a diet, the sweets seem to call me.
This time though it wasn’t the fruit that called to Adam and Eve it was a serpent. He knew what they wanted. He knew what they craved and he knew just how to tempt them. He quickly deceived Eve. He said “Did God really say “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” See how he twisted the truth. He was a good dealer. “Just one hit won`t hurt you.” Just one drink and you can stop.” Isn`t that what happens when we are addicted to something we can`t have? We allow the craving to control us and become easily deceived. Both Adam and Eve were deceived. I know Eve always gets the full rap for the deception.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining, she too some and ate it. (Genesis 3:6 NIV84)
This one sentence has sentenced Eve to take the full burden of original sin for millenia. But wait where was Adam? Where was our hero when all this was taking place? Was he at another part of the garden?
She also gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate it. (Genesis 3:7 NIV84)
He was right beside her, probably listening to everything the serpent was saying. He just didn`t say anything. He allowed everything to happen. He could have stopped Eve. He could have stopped the serpent. But alas our hero was flawed just as we all are. We all are witness to things that shouldn`t be. We all know people struggling, but instead of standing between them and what they struggle against, we enable and allow. We are silent, just as Adam was silent.
We all know the consequences of the disobedience to God. Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden. The serpent was cursed. Adam was told instead of a life of luxury and leisure, that he would now have to work for a living. Eve was told that childbirth would be painful and that her desire would be for her husband and that he would be the ruler over her. Oh the consequences…… We still suffer from those consequences. Nothing in life is easy. We face trials and heartaches. We struggle and fight to survive. We witness horrors that we should never be witness to. Children die. Friends fight for their lives from the ravages of cancer. We watch as lives are taken through addictions. Families break up. Money keeps people in servitude. People suffer from depression and can`t find hope anywhere. But there is hope.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV84)
God loved Adam and Eve and He was sad that He had to discipline them. As parents, we know that when we discipline our children and have them face consequences, we take no joy from it (ok, maybe once in a while). It hurts our hearts to tell our children that they can`t do what they want because of their actions. It hurts to take away something they love because they didn`t heed our warnings or advice. But in all things there is grace.
God started working things out right there in the beginning because of sin. God knew he would have to make a sacrifice for his children to save them from their sins. In fact, He sacrificed some of his creation to make skins for Adam and Eve so that they would be clothed (Gen 21). However, the promise of the greatest sacrifice He would make is in the curse of the serpent.
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. (Gen 3:15 NIV84)
This is the first telling of Jesus. You see, God doesn’t let bad things happen. He didn`t cause cancer. He doesn`t plan for children to be killed. He doesn`t allow terrorists to kill innocents. But He is there in the bad things. He guides and supports. He gives strength and peace and healing. It may not look the way we want it, but He does bring it. When we are focused on Him; when we lean on Him; when we seek Him; He is with us. He will bring good from the bad. We are not alone when we are in Him.
It is too easy in our society to be deceived as Eve was. To close our eyes as Adam did. When we cease to focus on the Father and obey Him we will walk down the path that He did not chose for us. However, if we obey Him and focus on Him, He will give us the strength to fight temptation and lies.