Genesis 3:1 | Yes He Said That

We all think we are smart until that moment we are hustled and tricked into doing something stupid. Anyone ever send money to some Nigerian prince? Anyone ever pay too much for a junk car? To my shame I was once tricked into giving up enough information to a spam caller that they were able to call the mobile company and change my service over to someone in Cuba locking me out of my own phone. I just signed up with a new carrier and I got a call from someone that sounded like they were from India asking to do a survey of my experience. I answered two questions and then they asked for the last 4 of my SSN for verification. That was all they needed (name and last 4 of my SSN to then turn around and call the phone company and get my service changed). I am smart! Ha! But I did not see that coming.

This kind of social manipulation has been going on since the beginning of time. We all know the story. Satan tempted Eve to eat from the fruit in the garden. We shake our head. How could she? What was she thinking? I would never make that mistake! Oh but dear reader you make that same mistake every day. In fact, you and I have fallen for the exact same social manipulation used on Eve. Don’t believe me? Then let us look at how Satan manipulated her and then ask ourselves the question. Have we been manipulated this same way?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 ESV

There are two things I want to look at in this verse that we need to be aware of. First is the acknowledgement that Satan is not stupid and he knows what he is doing. The Second is the genius of his attack that we should always be aware of even in modern culture.

The Serpent “was more crafty” עָרוּם (ārûm) means subtle, sly, sensible, shrewd. Sensible jumps out at me because I think of myself as a sensible person. Satan’s approach to Eve was sensible and subtle. Think about that for a moment. The caricature of Satan is a fire ensconced demon demanding evil actions or inflicting pain on people. No dear reader Satan is subtle and sensible. He approaches us in much more wisdom and understanding than the caricature. In fact עָרוּם (ārûm) is translated “prudent” in proverbs. So think of “more crafty” Satan when reading these verses from Proverbs.

The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly. Proverbs 12:23 ESV

The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. Proverbs 14:15 ESV

The serpent when he rolled up on Eve knew exactly what he was doing and he has planned his approach carefully. He would not force Eve to do anything. He was not going to make demands. He was not going to trick her into eating the wrong fruit on accident. No his approach would be subtle and sensible and Eve would never see it coming. In fact we the ever educated and smart modern peoples that we are still to this day fall for the exact same approach from Satan. That approach is in the second part of Genesis 3:1 and it is as sensible as it is subtle.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 ESV

“Did God really say”? What a question it is so sly and shrewd. Did God really say? That question is asked every day even now thousands of years later as we jump into sin. Did God really say sex outside of marriage is wrong? Did God really say that lies are wrong? Did God really say … insert whatever is on your heart right now? Oh do you see how crafty the serpent was and is?

16 And the Lord God [said to] the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16 ESV

Yes Eve, God said you should not eat from that Tree! Satan knows it and Eve knows it but what happened with the serpent’s question “Did God really say that”? Satan created an opening for Eve to question what God had spoken. What did God mean by don’t do this?

The same is true for modern man. People today are confronted by a world “Did God really….”. It is subtle, it is sensible, and it is shrewd. Now the rationalization process can start. God wants me to be happy. God is a God of love he would never forbid me to partake in this.

Dear reader ask yourself where you have listened to the question “Did God really say”. The question we should be asking is “What did God really say” and then desire to follow him with all your heart. I have been tricked. I have fallen for the scams. But God in his grace and love has provided a way to correct my mistake and the damaged I caused by joining right along with Eve in believing the lies.

27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

Romans 5:17 | Change your Family Tree

We are in a predicament. You and I, dear reader, are both born into a broken family. Now I work hard to show everyone that my family has it all together but the reality that I know and the reality my family knows is that we have issues. I know, dear reader, that your family has hidden issues as well. How do I know that? Because we are both people and we are under a curse. Everyone has issues some families are just better at keeping those issues out of the public than others. What Adam and Eve did at the very beginning left all of humanity in a mess and yes under a curse.

17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Romans 5:17 ESV

The trespass of Adam brought death to his family and to the families of all his descendants. This is hard to accept for modern man because we do not hold the sins of the father against the son. But in this case humanity was born into the decay of death because the sins of our father Adam are also our sins. We continue in the sins of Adam and embrace selfishness like all those before us.

When building a family tree most people start with themselves and work backward creating a tree and branches on the way back in time. However, this is backward. Our family tree actually starts with Adam and Eve as the seed of destruction and from this seed is the growth of a family that branches out into peoples, nations, and culture over time. Yet all of those families and nations share the original seed of sin from Adam. We are in a mess and there is nothing we can do to fix the family because the root is bad. The seed we draw our life from was corrupted from the start.

Yet there is hope. God steps in through the person of Jesus Christ and a new family tree is started. This new tree is alive with the grace of God. This tree is free of sin and death because the seed is the perfect righteous life of God.

16 If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Romans 11:16-18 ESV

God breaks all the rules. He does something amazing for those that call on the name of Jesus for salvation. He cuts them out of the dead tree of Adam and He then grafts that person into a new family tree. The living tree of Jesus Christ. The root of Jesus is holy and we who are grafted in receive nourishment from the life giving source of Christ.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5-6 ESV

Genesis 3:6 | Wisdom of Fools

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Sometimes I am tempted to think I am smarter and cleverer than my ancestors. I have multiple degrees. If there is any project that I want to accomplish I have information and resources to accomplish that project. I am basically a good person. I have it all together. When I read about how Satan smoothly sold Eve on eating from the tree of knowledge I shake my head as if I have not done the same and even worse.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV

The truth is that I am not any smarter and I am not any less a sinner than Eve was. Fact is that I am even worse off because I should know better yet here I am buying the same lies. Genesis states that Eve desired the fruit of the tree so that she could be wise. Just like Eve I spend time learning wisdom at Satan’s footstool. The world calls to all of us. The world says sex should be unfettered. The world says you got to take what is yours and not let others get in your way. The world says do what makes you happy. The world says you can have it all. People in our capitalistic society are referred to as consumers. Satan sold Eve, the first consumer, on a way that she could be wise like God. There is just one problem with all of our ambition and the lie that the world is selling. It is not true knowledge of any worth.

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16 ESV

Eve found that knowledge the world sells and became wise in “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” ways. Our first parents unleashed disorder after their selfish desire for wisdom was complete. Knowing good and evil is one thing but securing wisdom from God himself comes in a different way.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalms 32:8 ESV

Eve missed a fundamental when she tried to short cut her way to wisdom. She missed the fact that wisdom comes from a relationship with God and she already had that. God was instructing her. God was teaching her. And God was providing his wisdom a perfect wisdom to her in their daily interactions. But she discounted that source and went for the cheap knockoff.

People today are not any smarter or cleverer than our ancestors because we want wisdom but seek it apart from God. We eat of the fruit that the world offers and our lives are destroyed. We are wise in jealousy, manipulation, lies, selfish ambition, and demonic perversions. Yes we love our perversions.

2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, 3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; … 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:2-3;7 ESV

If you want true wisdom. Wisdom that comes from the Creator of this universe then the beginning of that knowledge is a respectful fear and submission to God that very same God who created us to have a relationship. Jesus is our point of contact. Turn to him for real truth and wisdom. Or continue to buy the fake knockoff that Satan sells when you want wisdom without God. God gives you that choice, but he will not hide you from the consequences.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

 

Genesis 2:18 | Significant Other

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My wife went out of town on a trip with our daughter to New York. It was an out of character trip for our family dynamic but it was a trip that would benefit our daughter to see the world up close from a big city perspective. I could not make the trip so I was left at home without my wife’s company. We have been married for a long time and I realized what a complete and total disaster I am when she is not around. I did not eat well. I did not go to bed at a decent hour. I missed her presence and conversation. And I was reminded that I am much better off in this life because of her.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 ESV

I love my wife and our life together is more than what I would have been apart from her. However our life together is messy and hard work. When one of us makes a mistake, it impacts both of us. And both of us are sinners who make mistakes every single day. Adam and Eve experienced that flaw in a real way as well.

Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:11-13 ESV

God made Eve to be a “helper” and Adam needed a helper. He liked the helper God had provided but Adam and Eve were together helping each other to rebel and disobey God. Partners in crime. Being created in God’s image was not enough to take on God’s perfection. Ultimately because of their sin they were unable to help themselves. The word used when God said he would make a helper for Adam is “ezer” עֵזֶר and only twice in the bible is it used to refer to Eve and both times were before their fall. Everywhere else this word ezer is used to refer to the only helper who can truly help and that is God himself.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2 ESV

After Adam and Eve sinned they were together in the fallen world. She is still his helper but they are equal before God as sinners who have broken the relationship of mankind and his creator. In the fallen world she is in the same boat and so the meaning of helper changes going forward. Because of the curse a new world that is no longer “good” comes forward and God is the only helper. God is the only help. Adam and Eve must look to him for salvation and help.

God never fails and God does not abandon his creation. When Adam and Eve became helpless God provided a new helper. That is where Jesus comes in and here he is making a promise that we may all take hold of.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 ESV

Whatever limitations Adam and Eve had are eliminated with this new helper that Jesus sends. This helper is not a limited image of God. This helper is God’s very own spirit. This helper is equal to God and part of the trinity that makes up God. The Holy Spirit is the helper we need to live life holy before God. This helper will be with us forever for those who receive him. True help comes only from the Lord. Turn to him and yield to his ways. Accept Christ for salvation and a relationship with the creator.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28 ESV

Genesis 5:1 | Our Family Tree

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Some people love genealogies and they will tell stories they have found about great great grand relatives that lived in a certain place or migrated from some other country. They tell stories about family that fought in wars or worked in some trade. Genesis chapter five is the patriarchal family tree from Adam, the first man, to Noah the most direct relative of everyone living today. This genealogy tells more stories than one might think at first glance and it also tells a major story that is relevant to everyone living today.

However before jumping into the big story of this genealogy we need to explore a few fun facts and details. The first thing to tackle and the thing that jumps out right away about this genealogy is the age of each person. Most of these men are stated to have lived into the 900 year range. It seems impossible that anyone could have lived that long and much effort has been spent by theologians and amateur detectives to determine what the ages really mean or what they actually were. The intent of the original author, likely Noah, of this chapter in Genesis is that these were the actual ages of these men and they should be taken as actual ages. Any attempt to adjust the ages to fit what is “normal” for people in this contemporary age will ultimately not be satisfying or accurate. I would encourage everyone to take the original author at his word that these were indeed how old they lived because the author was witness to the fact and the fact that this is what God wanted recorded.

This graphic tells some interesting stories about these pre flood patriarchs…

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These are the men and women who knew where the Garden of Eden was located (Genesis 3:24). These are men and women who could come before God and meet with Him for conversation in what might have been a uniquely direct way (Genesis 4:4 and 5:22). These are men and women who were almost perfect in every way able to live hundreds of years longer than we who continue on in this post flood fallen world. These men and women lived in a pre-flood world that looks very little like the world we see today.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. Genesis 7:11 ESV

The Genesis history tells us that when Noah was 600 years old the catastrophic judgment of the earth by water occurred. That information combined with the genealogy in chapter five tells us that from Adam’s creation to the year of the flood was 1,656 years. In the same year, and within months, of Methuselah’s death, who died in the year 1,656, the judgment of God by water was ushered into place. Methuselah’s name depending on the root translation could mean “When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent”. This is too much of a coincidence to not be interesting and just as interesting is the idea that his father, Enoch, a known prophet may have had a hand in giving him this unusual name almost a thousand years before the judgment of the earth by water.

While all of those are interesting stories about our history the real story is about God’s promise to return, judge, and fix what man had broken. That story is told through Enoch who never died and left a legacy that reaches out to us even thousands of years after his time on earth. Enoch was still a young man by pre flood standards when he was abducted by God and Enoch had a reputation even before this shocking intervention by God.

First Enoch was known as a faithful man who spent time with God.

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 ESV

Second Enoch was known as a prophet speaking about repentance and judgment to those who chased after ungodly selfishness.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:14 ESV

Those who lived at that time would have heard Enoch’s words from God. They would have heard from Enoch that the “Lord” of all men would be coming with thousands of holy people. They would have known that the “ungodly” way they were living was not God’s plan. While Enoch and those who heard his message would not have had the revelation of Jesus they knew the prophesy given to Eve about her offspring (Genesis 3:15). The promise of eternal life and a presence with God after death had not been articulated, but they knew people could be taken away to be with God as evidenced by Enoch’s life. They knew that God’s anointed one would be coming and he would be bringing judgment with him. Even in the very beginning in the days of Adam God’s future plan for Jesus, salvation, and his return were already being shown to mankind. This genealogy like any family tree contains stories that are relevant to life today. The question is will you be standing today in this moment of grace waiting just like the patriarchs for Jesus and his return or will you be like all those that were destroyed in Noah’s day?

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. Revelations 22:12-15 NLT

Genesis 4:7 | God’s Mercy to a Murderer

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God after the fall continued his fellowship with Adam, Eve, and their Children. I imagine that the relationship was similar to that of the days in the garden where God would be present in some form building a relationship with Adam and Eve. This side of the fall and curse however resulted in need for an offering for sin and an acknowledgment of how one’s sins break the relationship with God. Eve’s first two sons Cain and Abel are recorded providing offerings to God as I would assume Adam and Eve had been doing as well. Their offering may have been modeled after what God did for Adam and Eve after the original sin where God himself killed an animal to provide skin covering for their shame.

21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:21 ESV

The outcome of these offerings from Cain and Abel should remind all of just how quickly sin escalates in the heart of men and how it impacts their family and God’s relationship with the creation.

6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. Genesis 4:6-10 ESV

Cain and Abel both provided offerings to God however Abel’s offering was accepted by God and Cain’s offering was not. The acceptance of Abel’s offering resulted in fellowship with God the Creator. In fact the next time this kind of offering is mentioned within the Bible is when God was setting up the regular rules of engagement to Moses and Aaron.

41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. 42 It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. Exodus 29:41-42 ESV

The offering that Abel provided allowed him to meet and speak with God and God accepted the offering. Cain’s offering was rejected but still in God’s mercy and grace he continued the relationship with Cain speaking directly to him to encourage him to do the right thing if he wanted acceptance. Most likely God rejected Cain’s offering because of a heart and motive issue and he warns Cain that sin is “crouching at the door”.

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15 ESV

What Cain should have done is repent of the anger in his heart and turn toward God to do what he knew would be the right thing to do. God clearly indicates that He would have accepted Cain. Even after Cain had killed his own brother God in a display of undeserved mercy gives Cain an opportunity to repent for what had happened, but Cain rejects the grace of that moment by claiming to not know about what happened to Abel. God knew what happened so the questioning from God to Cain is an opportunity for Cain to turn away from the sinful path and to restore the relationship.

God provides that same opportunity for people today. While we are all sinners that deserve death because of our rebellion, God has provided his own substitutionary payment. He provided an offering we could not provide ourselves so that we can be like Abel standing before the Creator accepted and in fellowship. God’s advice to Cain is still true to people today and even more so because God has revealed his saving grace from sin in Christ.

7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him… 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:7-8; 14 ESV