It is hard for us to understand how on earth it could have made sense to Adam and Eve to disobey God’s clear instructions and exchange life in Paradise for death and destruction. Once again the Bible comes to our rescue! Genesis 3 gives us insight into their thinking. “You’re OUT!” is a rollicking ballad that helps bring that Genesis 3 story to life. Give it a listen, then come back and we’ll analyze what happened and look at ways to avoid repeating the same mistakes in our own lives.
How to eat an elephant
Do you know how to eat an elephant? Simple. One bite at a time. When you cannot get from point A to point B in one giant leap, you break it up into smaller steps. Back in the Garden of Eden, that’s how the Adversary worked to get Eve to switch from believing God’s Word (you shall surely die) to believing the serpent’s word (you shall NOT surely die). Result? Pain, suffering and death to Adam and Eve and their offspring. YIKES!
Let’s start by reviewing these verses:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Five strikes and you’re out
When we read carefully we see how the Adversary kept chipping away at what God said, little by little. Here are five steps that got Eve where the Adversary wanted her to go:
Step 1: Plant a doubt about God’s Word
Step 2: Entertain and discuss the doubt about God’s Word
Step 3: Leave a word out of God’s Word
Step 4: Add words to God’s Word
Step 5: Change words in God’s Word
Maybe this picture will help you see what happened more clearly:
Handle with care
In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul says, “… I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” The lessons learned from the Garden of Eden and the fall of man must not be forgotten. Here are three thoughts on handling God’s Word well and avoiding the serpent’s craftiness to deceive:
- LEARN WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. We need to read it for ourselves. And we should seek and receive good teaching on the Bible from others who can help us. A good teacher will do like they did when Ezra was leading a revival back in old Jerusalem: “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8). Ezra did not offer his theories about religion. He read them straight from the book and helped them understand what they read. We, too, should read the book itself and get whatever help we need to understand the reading.
Tip to teachers: If you find someone who struggles a lot to understand the Bible, make sure they are born again. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (First Corinthians 2). If the lights are not coming on, it might be because the person needs to get that spirit which is of God. Help them get it!
- NO PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. 2 Peter 1 teaches that the Bible is of “no private interpretation”. We are instructed NOT to make up our own theories or wild guesses about what the scriptures mean. We need to take the time to learn AND understand what God is saying. If we don’t understand what we are reading, we simply say “we don’t understand”. It is not a disgrace to not know something. It IS a disgrace to act like we know when we do not know. We don’t start guessing and call that good enough. There is plenty in there we CAN understand and act on. Start there.
- PRAY FOR UNDERSTANDING.
“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”
(2 Timothy 2:7)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Life is too short to learn only by making mistakes. God is full of grace and mercy — BUT — the consequences of mistakes usually hit long before we’ve had time to commit every possible blunder. Knowing what God says not only gives and preserves LIFE but also lights our path — which saves a terrific amount of TIME and TROUBLE.
Listen! Remember! Obey!
God bless you lots!
[NOTE: This post is a revised version of a song and notes I posted a couple of years ago. I hope you’ll go and enjoy that earlier version, too.]
LYRICS: You’re OUT!
Lyrics by Dale Reichel
At the start of our time, the garden looked fine
And God wished for good company
According to His plan He created a man
Who looked a lot like you and me
God told the man some details of His plan,
“Enjoy this place but honor the invitation!
You can live, you can stay, but you’ll die the very day
You forget a certain vital obligation!”
“We will part, you and Me, if you eat of the tree
That sits in the midst of the garden
You can do everything, come and go, laugh and sing,
But that one thing I cannot pardon”
The good Lord could see Adam needed company
So God formed Adam’s partner he called Eve
Fairly certain, little doubt, if you saw her you would shout
“She’s so beautiful it’s hard to believe!”
Lurking ‘round Paradise was a villain in disguise
Who used to be an angel of light
He asked, “Eve are your secure, are you really, really sure
That stuff God warned about that tree is right?”
Eve heard him out as he led her to doubt
She had no clue what trouble she’d begun.
That question she received on her way to being deceived,
Serpent’s first pitch, Eve swung, STRIKE ONE!
Eve didn’t know the serpent’s goal, but he seemed like a kindred soul
So, she reasons , “The snake is smart to ask
If God has really told them all they need to live long and not fall.
I get the feeling God’s not up to that task!”
The serpent’s second toss left Eve at a loss
He got her doubting that what God said is true.
As he leaned into his work, the serpent hid a prideful smirk,
And whispered to himself “STRIKE TWO!”
Eve straightened her stance, gave the snake a fearless glance
Then misquoted God, much to the serpent’s glee
When she left one word out, that trickster had no doubt
He could silently declare “STRIKE THREE!”
Eve just chattered away, “I feel I should say
I think we need to know more than God uttered!”
So, she added words and said them, moving closer to the mayhem
To himself, “STRIKE FOUR!” the serpent muttered.
Eve’s final play gave the whole game away
She changed a word and, thus, did arrive
To that place the serpent led, while with weeds he wrapped her head
And gloated to himself, “STRIKE FIVE!”
Then the serpent played his hand and said, “Hey, Girl, understand!
God told you wrong! Now listen to ME!
God lied from the start, ‘cuz He doesn’t want you smart
But you’ll get smart if you eat from that tree.”
Eve took the fruit in hand and ate and shared it with her man
That fall was the first of man’s sinning
Now you can plainly see, it took five strikes, two more than three.
That’s why it’s been called … the BIG INNING!
The lesson’s very clear, every person, lend an ear
We see the path that led straight to the fall.
Sow a question, grow a doubt, add words, change words, leave words out
Well, of course you won’t have God’s Word left at all!
Your thoughts, please?
Do you think the adversary is still working to keep people from knowing God’s word in our “modern” times? Please share your ideas in the “Leave a reply” section below. Thanks!
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