Genesis 3: Two Men Who Listened To Satan
In Chapter 3 and 4 of Genesis, we read of two men who listened to the Devil-Adam and Cain. We can learn some lessons from how each of them fell a prey to Satan's wiles.
When God sent Adam into Eden, He did not send an angel with him to check up on him. Why? Because it is only when we are not being watched, that God can test our heart's attitude. He tests us when no-else is around. Adam and Eve were by themselves and could sin without being observed by any created being.
There were thousands of trees with beautiful fruit in Eden. The tree of life was there too, that would have brought them eternal life. But Adam and Eve did not choose any of these. They went for “knowledge”. They rejected life and chose knowledge -exactly like man does today.
If you had a choice between Bible knowledge and life which would you choose?
I'm sure you will all give the right answer: “Life”. But test yourself: Do you study the Bible to get knowledge or to obey God? If you study the bible to get knowledge, you are going to the tree of knowledge too. And the knowledge of good and evil will only bring death. God wants us to know good and evil through a living connection with Him, and not by study of scripture alone. If we have the knowledge of good and evil without a living connection with God, we will go astray. That was how Adam died. He got the knowledge of good and evil without a living connection with God. Our knowledge of good and evil must through the Holy Spirit telling us what is right and wrong, moment by moment, and the guidance of the Church. Any other way of knowing good and evil will only bring death.
The devil told Eve that she could be like God in 3:5. Jesus came with a message that sounded very similar. But it was totally different. Whereas Satan told Eve that she could be like God in knowledge, authority and power, Jesus tells us that we can be like God in humility, purity, and love. Which of theses two messages do most people desire? Alas, even mot believers hanker after the former!! But is thus that we can distinguish between the voice of the devil and the voice of Jesus. Temptation is very subtle. The devil is a deceiver. His counterfeits look just like the genuine thing on the surface.
When the devil was tempting Eve he was also insinuating that God didn't really love her. If God loved her, Satan implied, God would have allowed her to eat from this beautiful tree. That's why Satan tries to get into our hearts as well, by making us doubt God's love.
Jesus told Peter, “behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” (Luke 22:31). God gave Satan that permission, just like God had given Satan permission to sift Adam and Eve in Eden. The Lord told Peter, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:” (Luke 22:32) Jesus did not pray that Peter would not fall, but that even if he fell, he woul still believe that God loved him. That is faith.
In the hour of trial and temptation, even if we fall, if we still have faith in the love of God, we have triumphed. Even if your prayer is not answered or something you wanted was not given you. Even if you have to go through some deep trial like Job's, where your children die and your property is lost, don't ever doubt the love of God. That is true faith.
What does it mean to live by faith?
It means to constantly assert, no matter what happens, that God loves you. It was such a faith in his father's love that the Prodigal son back home. He knew that even though he had done a lot of wrong things and messed up his life, his father still loved him. So he went back to his father.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil looked so attractive! It was God Who had made it so attractive because only when it was attractive could Adam and Eve be tested as to whether they would choose God Himself above His beautiful creation. In every temptation, what we essentially face is this: Are we going to choose the Creator or His creation? The temptation could be a pretty woman or gold or some other crated thing. Even when seeking the honor or approval of men, the alternate choice is the approval of God. Which do you want? We sin when we choose the created thing above the Creator. We overcome when we choose the Creator above all His creation. It is as simple as that. Yet most people in the world, including believers, fail this test daily.
We either worship God's creation-a beautiful face or gold or some man's approval- or we consider all of this as garbage compared to God Himself. To the overcomer, the beauty of Jesus and His approval are far more valuable than anything He created. If you were to make just this one choice in every decision in life, you will be a man of God. You will be a woman of God. You know God and His Word in a personal way. Better than any man can teach you. Make that choice in every temptation and say, “Lord, I choose You above all created things.” That is the secret.
So what was Adam's sin?
Was it just that he ate of the fruit of the tree that was forbidden? No. It was more than that. In Genesis 3:17, God told him, “thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife”. Is it a sin to listen to the voice of one's wife? Yes, if it leads to disobeying God. God had made Adam the head of his home. But he did not exercise his authority as the head. He saw his wife talking to the devil and he just stood there listening to the conversation and made no effort to stop her. He should have put his foot down and said, “Come away, Eve. Don't listen to him.” There are many husbands like Adam today. They are not the head in their homes. Adam sinned when he did not assert his headship.
God is a good God. He cursed the serpent and the ground, but He did not curse Adam. There we see the tremendous love of God. God killed an animal to cover Adam and Eve. That was the first death on earth. An innocent animal was killed as a sacrifice for Adam's sin and that animal's skin was used to make a garments to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. (3:21). That was a picture of what God would one day do on Calvary's cross, allowing His Son to die so that His righteousness may clothe us.
Before Man sinned there was no flaming sword in front of the tree of life. Adam could have gone to it and eaten of it and received eternal life. But God put a flaming sword in front of that tree after man sinned. Today, if you want to partake of that tree, you have to let the sword fall upon your flesh. We don't have to be punished for our sins now, because that sword fell upon Jesus on Calvary. But that sword must fall on our flesh today. As Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ...And I live.” (Galatians 2:20) When we are united with Jesus on the cross, that sword falls on our flesh and we can partake of eternal life. There is know other way to life. This sword guards this tree even today.
Notice some of the words in Genesis 3:16-19, that God spoke to Adam as the punishment for his sin. Words like curse, sorrow, thorns, sweat, dust, death. All of these words are found in the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus took all of this upon Himself, so that we can be totally free from the punishment that was put up on Adam in Eden.
We see that as soon as Adam's fellowship with God was broken, his fellowship with his wife was broken too. The proof of this is seen in the fact that he begins to accuse her. Whenever you begin to accuse others, it proves that your fellowship with God is broken. When you are in fellowship with God you don't accuse others. You judge yourself. It is Satan who is the Accuser of the brethren.