Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Unexpected Consequences

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.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?" He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:6-13

Choosing the path that Satan lays before you leads to unexpected consequences. Like a used car salesman he gives you his pitch. You try to be skeptical (you do consider the source after all) but in the end it is just too tempting. You think you have looked at it from all angles. You've considered every outcome and weighed every argument. It looks like a good deal, so you take the bait. All of us have been there, at least spiritually speaking if not in the real world. It's only when we take that sin off the lot and out for a test drive that we find out it doesn't measure up to all of his promises. In fact, it leaves us stranded on the side of the road far from home and in need of a Savior. 

You will do well to remind yourself that all good things come from above (James 1:17) not from Satan. He has not made any good thing. In fact, he creates no new thing at all. He merely perverts what God has already made. Since all that God has made has been declared "good" his perversions make everything decidedly worse. Adam & Eve took the bait. Let's see if they made a good deal. They believed the lie that eating the fruit will give them knowledge like God's. What do they actually receive?

First, they receive a new knowledge. This knowledge falls far short of its selling points though. It amounts to nothing more than a loss of innocence. Adam and Eve's eyes are opened and they come to know that they are naked. They experience shame for the first time. They aren't ashamed of their actions (though they should be) but of their nakedness. This kind of misplaced shame often accompanies our sin. Shame can be a good thing when it drives us to repentance. There are times when the only appropriate way to feel is ashamed of our actions. But our enemy tries to misdirect this shame whenever possible. He directs it in a way that it drives us away from our Lord instead of driving us toward Him, and that is what is done here.

Second, Adam and Eve experience fear before God. This does not appear to be the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Look closely at why they are afraid. They are afraid because they are naked. It seems to me that this is like the instinctive high-pitched screaming and then running to hide that we imagine a person doing when they think someone is going to see them naked. Though this is a little humorous the point is rather serious. Sin separates us from God. We have no reason to believe that their fellowship with the Lord was hindered in any way before, yet now that sin has entered the world, they hide from Him and feel shame before Him because of their nakedness. Our sin separates us from God as well. Scripture attests to this over and over again. This is the basis for all the Old Testament law and the need for Christ.

Third, the act of the sin itself has turned the order of God's good creation on its head. In verses 11-13 we find that a new hierarchy of authority has been set in place by their sin. At the top of this new hierarchy is an animal. The serpent told both Adam and Eve what to do. Next is Eve. She talked with the serpent and made her decision while Adam stood idly by. Next is Adam. He gave up his role as a leader and merely follows both the serpent and his wife. Last of all is the God Almighty. No one is obeying His decrees. No one is seeking His advice. No one respects His authority. Of course this is the exact opposite of the flow of authority that God set in place. The rightful flow of authority has God at the top as the Sovereign ruler of all creation. Man is next as his first human creation, the one who named the animals and Eve. Then comes woman who, being equal in worth and value to man, is called his helper. Last of all are the animals which have been put under the dominion of all mankind. This reveals the primary nature of sin. It is, at its heart, a removal of God from the throne of our hearts and His creation. It is a twisting and a perverting of all the good that He has given us. And it is decidedly worse than what we had before.  

For further reading...
  • II Samuel 12-18: King David got a lot more than he bargained for when he gave in to temptation with Uriah's wife. You may know that Bathsheba got pregnant and that David had Uriah killed but do you know just how great a price David paid for his sin. Check out these 7 chapters of Scripture for a powerful example of how unexpected the consequences of sin can be. 

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