Who told thee that thou wast naked?
- Gen 3:11
Reading this again a few days ago, I couldn't help thinking of a point I raised with myself much earlier that, to me, this is the Bible's saddest line.
Times come when people to whom we have given sound advice have gone ahead and still made wrong decisions. In fact, it may have been us in error with someone else’s advice. Regardless, disappointment follows.
God has seen it all. He speaks to us through his word, yet, for a time, we heed something else and fail in those small but important tests.
For millennia God has had to watch us reading his word but ignoring it in critical times.
Nobody is a better mentor than God, and his first mentee was Adam in the garden. From the time Adam could talk God was there explaining everything. Like a surgeon eagerly awaiting the awakening of a patient, I can see God beside Adam from the moment Adam opened his eyes.
What did Adam see? The breathtaking array of colours and shapes, the different structures of the animals and birdlife, and their harmony of sound; and, of course, he saw the trees billowing as the first breeze gently blew across Adam's face and he asked God, "What was that?"
Adam couldn't believe anything was so beautiful. He had no imagination prior to this, so everything his eyes beheld was new to him. The environmental beauty had Adam in awe, and there was God right beside him, pleased, explaining. God spent a lot of time with Adam daily, and then when Eve came along, he lingered with both of them.
The talks would have been close. Our talks with God are also close, as God asks us to come to him with every concern. He would have uttered similar words to them. There they were, God and his two vessels of honour in the garden.
Whether mentoring someone or raising children, it's always satisfying when they make the right decisions, but it hurts to see the opposite. After everything God gave them, after all the fellowship and counselling, it must have been so heartbreaking for God to hear Adam say those echoing words,"I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
If he were human, I can imagine God’s head dropping to his chest and his eyes closing in sorrow.
Yet, I have a feeling God was watching the entire scene of temptation without intervening, as he does with our trials.
We notice that from his investigation of the matter, and the sentencing.
Genesis 3:12-14,"And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:"
God asked Adam who was at fault. Adam blamed Eve. Then God asked Eve who was at fault, and Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent.
Then we find an interesting deviation from what we would expect from God in his role as judge.
At this time, the serpent is merely the accused, and all accused have the right to a fair trial, a right to defend themselves, to "have their day in court." Yet, God did not ask the serpent his side of the story, he went directly to the sentencing. This accused was not given the opportunity to defend himself. Why?
God expected him to lie. His testimony was worthless and therefore pointless.
Adam and Eve's nature had changed, not in discovering their nakedness, but now realising they could lie. They had gone from royalty, where "the buck stops here," to a servant mentality, where they blame others. By blaming the serpent, they inadvertently put him on the throne of influence.
This is very a sobering point for us. As with Adam and Eve, the decisions are ours. When we read this story sometimes we can go soft on Adam and Eve and think God was too harsh. “Anyone could have made that mistake” we cry. But they had spent all their lives making decisions. Adam had dominion over all things in the garden of Eden and made both big and small decisions daily. They both lived and breathed responsibility. So to blame the serpent was indeed out of character.
Deception was a new thing in this garden of tranquillity, but God’s words should have still overridden anything new. Likewise, we are accustomed to making decisions daily, even hourly, and our love for God and dependency on his word should dominate every one of them.
I am sitting here shaking my head writing this, thinking on the patience and hope of God, and how we so often defy his hope by making bad choices.
God is a God of hope, and he knows that despite our failures we can win the fight over all temptations. We fall, but get up again. Then, we get to a point where we don't fall by decision.
What can you foresee that might cause you to make wrong decisions?
You are battling the same serpentine subtleties as Adam and Eve when they were blindsided, therefore things could come out of left field to blindside you.
Can you hold onto God's word regardless of what subtleties come against you or from which direction? If you heard a whisper in your ear, “Is God’s word really true? Or is it just a compilation of fairy tales?” What do you think? If is says to you, "You can't overcome anything. You're finished," Are you finished? No!
By God sending Jesus to die on our behalf for these very subtleties, we can make the same decisions of truth that Jesus did. The victory is ours, one decision at a time.
Our biggest battle is our next decision.
What's the most assured way we can honour God? By recalling how easily those two vessels of honour were duped, and choosing the opposite.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, you have revealed so much of me in the Adam and Eve story. So many times I chose wrong over right, pride over humility, stardom over the way of holiness, and worldly freedom over the strait pathway of Christ. Please help me with my will power, so I can be aware early of the choices I need to make, and make them.
Photo by Kristy Kravchenko