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Genesis 3 – Week Five
When you think of Adam and Eve, what is the first word that comes to mind? Perhaps it would be man, woman, garden, human, creation. It wouldn’t be long before the words sin, disobedience, fall, hiding, naked, afraid, and forbidden would be mentioned.
Do you find yourself shaking your head at the actions of others? Are you astonished at the way people respond or react to circumstances?
This week has been filled with opinions, commentaries, and reactions to the altercation that took place between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars. We all have our own opinion about what took place and we’ve all heard people say, in essence, that they would have never done the same thing. Lots of people, who weren’t in that same position, have criticized, condemned, and attacked those who were involved. But there was one response that rings such truth. In fact, it’s been true since the time that our scripture covers today. Too bad Denzel Washington wasn’t in the Garden of Eden thousands of years ago and said to Adam and Eve what he said to Will Smith. “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.”
Adam and Eve would have certainly been at a high moment. They were surrounded by all that they needed and could want. They had been given this perfect oasis that was nothing short of paradise. God had given them dominion over every living thing. He had given them the land and all that grew upon it. Adam and Eve enjoyed a close, intimate relationship with God. He had given them the freedom to enjoy an abundant life. Everything that they had, everything that surrounded them was good. They should have been satisfied. They should have been content. They should have been happy. They should have been enjoying their highest moments.
They should have had no trouble following the one rule that God gave them.
Genesis 3:1 ICB “Now the snake was the most clever of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day the snake spoke to the woman.”
Before we continue with what the snake said, let’s consider this. The snake audibly spoke to Eve. In words she could understand. As in the snake and Eve had a conversation. And Eve isn’t shocked by this at all. She doesn’t question whether she’s hearing things, or Adam is playing a joke on her. She simply converses with a reptile as if this is a normal thing to do. There’s another talking animal in the Bible.
Numbers 22:27 GNT “27 This time, when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down. Balaam lost his temper and began to beat the donkey with his stick. 28 Then the Lord gave the donkey the power of speech, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you? Why have you beaten me these three times?”
29 Balaam answered, “Because you have made a fool of me! If I had a sword, I would kill you.”
30 The donkey replied, “Am I not the same donkey on which you have ridden all your life? Have I ever treated you like this before?”
“No,” he answered.
31 Then the Lord let Balaam see the angel standing there with his sword; and Balaam threw himself face downward on the ground.”
These are the only two accounts of talking animals in the Bible that I’m aware of. Neither time did the human express surprise when the animal spoke to them. I don’t think that talking animals were the norm and I base that on a verse in the New Testament. 2 Peter 2:16 NIV “ But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech (emphasis mine)—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.”
It’s interesting that there are only two stories of talking animals in the Bible. First, there is the snake who is described as most clever. Second, there is the donkey who is described as dumb, mute, and without speech. One animal is used by the devil; the other animal serves as the mouthpiece for God. You can’t help but notice that the devil used the most clever animal to deliver his message; God used a lowly donkey to deliver His. The serpent was deceptive while the donkey was truthful. It’s also interesting that the one talking animal in Genesis brought death to whom he spoke; the talking animal in Numbers actually saved the life of the other person in the conversation. In the end, the serpent was cursed for all eternity. The donkey was the animal specifically chosen to carry Jesus into Jerusalem.
Let’s get back to what the snake said. Genesis 3:1b ICB “One day the snake spoke to the woman. He said, “Did God really say that you must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
Satan, speaking through the snake, doesn’t introduce himself, and doesn’t greet Eve in any way. He starts off with an accusing question (the very first question in the Bible, by the way) that isn’t accurate. In fact, it’s straight-up misleading. He makes it sound as if eating from any tree in the garden is forbidden when he knows that isn’t the case.
Genesis 3:2 NKJV “And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’
Eve responds, but she isn’t entirely accurate. God never told Adam that they couldn’t touch the tree, but Eve adds that to the restrictions. Also, by saying “lest you die” Eve is saying there’s a possibility that they would die. She’s added to and changed the meaning of what God had said. Here’s what God actually said to Adam.
”Genesis 2:16 NKJV “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
By Eve not knowing, not understanding, or not accurately relaying God’s message, the devil was able to stir confusion which caused mistrust and doubt in God. Now, I must admit. I’d like to see the transcript of when Adam gave Eve the message. Is it possible that Eve was simply repeating what Adam had told her and it was actually Adam who distorted the instructions? We don’t know, but I think that this right here is solid proof that our relationship with God must be firsthand. It is so easy for us to be misled, misinformed, or misdirected when we don’t have a direct line to the source. I’m sure all of us have experienced a time when a preacher or someone teaching has said something that just didn’t sound right. Maybe it was contrary to what we had always believed or had been taught elsewhere. It happens. But if we’ve got our own personal knowledge of God’s Word and His character, then with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to sift out that which isn’t true. Eve, however, didn’t do that.
Genesis 3:4 NKJV “4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”
It didn’t take much to convince her, did it? I think that is what saddens me the most. God’s Word had been very important up to this point. All it had taken was for God to say, “let there be” and it happened. Now His Word is being challenged. Satan uses the opportunity to insinuate that God is keeping something good from them. He is able to get Eve to question if God can be trusted. And Eve offers no resistance. There was no going back and forth, no debate. She didn’t ask the serpent how he knew what he was telling her. She didn’t ask if anyone else had eaten from it and lived. She simply saw that the tree was good, pleasant, and desirable, and without hesitation, she took the fruit and ate it.
This is one of those instances in which we shake our heads in disbelief. How? How could she have so easily been deceived into going against God? When she had everything, literally everything she needed and then some? When she had been placed in paradise to live freely and perfectly through no effort on her own? How could she forfeit all of that for just one bite of that that was forbidden?
Eve was at a high moment and the devil came for her.
When the bank account is healthy, we don’t rely on God to provide for our needs as much. When our health is right where we want it, we have no need to ask God for healing. When our relationships are smooth and without conflict, we don’t turn to God for reunion and restoration. When all is well within our world, we don’t cling to God in thankfulness.
Many people will use a roller coaster as an analogy to life and that’s pretty accurate. There are moments of uphill climbing, sudden rapid declines, unexpected turns and twists, slow periods, fast periods, times of excitement, and moments of fear. Sometimes we scream, we cry, we laugh, or we throw up. There are some people who resist holding onto the safety bar the entire ride; preferring to hold their hands up in the air. Other people will do their very best to only hold onto it when they have to; when they feel unsteady. And then there are people like me that will have a white-knuckled death grip on it the entire time regardless of how slow and calm the ride may be. I do believe that’s how God wants us to be with Him. Holding on to Him throughout it all – the slow times, the fast times, the sudden twists and turns, the low moments, and yes, even the high moments.
If only Eve had held on to Him at that moment, she could have resisted the temptation. But we know that she didn’t. In fact, she shared the forbidden fruit with Adam. And just like Eve, he ate it.
Genesis 3:6b NKJV “She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
Look at the last verse of Genesis 2. “25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
They were naked but were not ashamed. After their moment of disobedience, they now KNOW that they were naked and they became ashamed. And they tried to cover themselves. Up to this point, neither Adam nor Eve would have seen anything die. Perhaps they chose the fig leaves because they are usually large in size. But they wouldn’t have realized that plucking the leaves from the plant would cause the leaves to shrivel and die. Their way of covering their nakedness was temporary and not effective. Just like us. We are unable to cover our sins. We simply don’t have the means or the resources on our own. But just like Adam and Eve, we make feeble attempts to cover up our slips, our falls, our outright sinfulness, and try to hide from God. But guess what? It doesn’t work.
Genesis 3:8 NJKV “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
This speaks to me. These two verses reveal so much to us about God’s love for us. God knew very well what had happened and He also knew right where they were. God wasn’t fooled. He wasn’t blindsided. He wasn’t unaware. He knew that Eve allowed herself to be deceived and Adam had chosen to be disobedient and yet, God still pursued them.
Maybe you’ve had periods in your life in which you tried to hide from God or at least avoid being in His presence because you know you’ve been disobedient; you know you’ve allowed untruths to steer you. Perhaps you willingly made choices that you knew were displeasing to God so rather than face Him, you distanced yourself. Maybe you haven’t experienced that. Maybe you’ve always had that closeness with Him but there’s someone you know that hasn’t. Somebody that needs to be reminded that God still pursues us when we’ve done wrong. God still seeks us when we’ve disappointed Him. God always knows where we are, but He’ll sometimes ask us, “Where are you?” in order for us to take a moment and realize we’ve been trying to hide from Him. That’s mercy. And actually, these next few verses are the first act of mercy we’ll see.
Genesis 3:10 NKJV “10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Just as God had scooped up the dust and breathed life into Adam, He could have just as easily spoken Adam back into a pile of dust. But He doesn’t. He gives Adam a chance to explain. And Adam takes the opportunity to explain why he’s not at fault.
Genesis 3:12 NKJV “12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
Adam wants to be sure he’s cleared of all wrongdoing, so he casts blame in two different directions. He blames God because God is the One who gave Eve to him and he blames Eve.
So God looks to Eve for her explanation. Genesis 3:13 NKJV “And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Before sin entered the picture, there was harmony, peacefulness, and a loving relationship between God and man as well as between Adam and Eve. Before the forbidden fruit of sin is even swallowed, there is now discord and separation between God and man as well as between Adam and Eve. Relationships that God desired were forever changed at that moment. But God isn’t caught off guard. He isn’t hasty in His response. God, being all-knowing, reveals to Satan the consequences that have just been set in motion. “God passes sentence; and he begins where the sin began, with the serpent. The devil’s instruments must share in the devil’s punishments.”[i]
Genesis 3:14 NKJV “14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
As God speaks, He takes the enmity, the hostility, the animosity that is taking shape between Adam and Eve and between mankind and God and He places it between the serpent and Eve. Specifically, He places it between the devil’s seed and Eve’s Seed. There are a couple of references to the children of the devil. John 8:44 ESV “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”
1 John 3:10 ESV “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil:”
The reference to Eve’s seed is quite significant because when the word seed is used to define offspring, the possession is given to the male. Think seed of Abraham, the seed of Judah, Isaac’s seed, the seed of David. But God specifically states “her Seed” meaning that there is no male involved. And the word “Seed” is capitalized signifying that the reference is to Jesus. This is the beginning of the first prophecy in the Bible. God delivers to Satan the promise of consequences. “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” A bruised head means death while a bruised heel is just an injury.
What this does is set in motion Satan’s attempt to keep it from happening. Satan, at this point, goes into full-blown panic mode and why wouldn’t he? Remember, Satan has firsthand knowledge of Who God is and the limitlessness He possesses. God has just delivered to Satan a death sentence and Satan tries desperately to appeal it. Knowing that the Seed that will bruise or crush his head will come from Eve, Satan first goes after Cain and Abel. Abel is murdered by his brother and Cain is exiled. Surely God wouldn’t use Cain to destroy Satan, would He? But then Seth is born. Satan may not have planned for that. So he goes about and makes the whole world so evil in the eight generations that take place between Seth and Noah. Surely, the Seed of Eve wouldn’t survive. The world is so full of evil that God destroys everyone…except Noah and his family. So the Seed is carried on. Can you just imagine the frustration and fear as Satan tries time and time again to prevent the Seed of Eve from continuing? He conjures up discord between Esau and Jacob. He uses Pharoah to order that every Hebrew male child is killed, but Moses survives. David, who is a descendant of Moses has a bounty placed on his head by King Saul. Later on, Haman tries to persuade King Xerxes to kill the Jewish population. Fortunately, Queen Esther steps in. Fast forward to the New Testament and Satan uses King Herod to kill all of the male babies two years and younger killed. All of these were attempts to wipe out the Seed of Eve; to annihilate the One who would crush Satan. But God spoke to the wise men and He spoke to Joseph and, as we know, baby Jesus was kept safe. For a while.
Can you imagine the satisfaction and relief that Satan experienced that dark Friday on a hill called Calvary? He did it. He survived. He defeated God. He proved God’s prophecy wrong. Or so he thought. Although Satan knows God and His power far better than we could ever comprehend, he still underestimated Him.
The end of Genesis 3 tells us that the consequences for Adam and Eve were different. God gave to Eve much sorrow and pain when it comes to being pregnant and giving birth. He also gave her a desire to control but put her under the control of Adam. This is the beginning of the power struggle between males and females. As for Adam, hard work and having to provide became his burdens. No longer was the tending of the garden and the labor pleasant and enjoyable.
And verse 21 of Genesis 3 reveals the first sacrifice. “21 The Lord God used animal skins and made some clothes for the man and his wife. Then he put the clothes on them.” Up to this point, animals weren’t killed for any reason. God had given Adam and Eve grains and fruit to eat in Genesis 1. But after their fall, after their act of recklessness, a sacrifice had to be made. And so it continued until Jesus made the ultimate and final sacrifice for me and you.
God showed His unfailing love for Adam and it’s described in verse 22 of Genesis 3. “The Lord God said, “Look, the man has become like us—he knows about good and evil. And now the man might take the fruit from the tree of life. If the man eats that fruit, he will live forever. 23 So the Lord God forced the man out of the Garden of Eden to work the ground he was made from. 24 God forced the man to leave the garden.”
God was merciful in that He led them away from the tree of life. He didn’t want them to live forever in sin. He loved them, just like He loves us, so very much. He wants for us to cling to Him in times of routine, in times of uncertainty, in times of sorrow, in times of joy, when life is good, when life stinks, when the refrigerator is full, when the cupboards are bare, when the moments are low and especially when the moments are high. Because He knows that Satan sees every moment as an opportunity in which he will come for us.
[i] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/genesis/3-15.htm (Matthew Henry)