Genesis 3:1-24, Matthew 2:1-12, Psalms 2:1-6, Proverbs 1:10-19
OT: “Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’? …No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit 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 knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves… The Lord God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them. The Lord God said, “Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3:1, 4-7, 21-23 CSB)
The “art” of temptation: First Satan came in the form of a serpent. He rarely reveals himself as the source, but comes as a less menacing, familiar voice… sometimes it’s our own voice. Then he uses suggestion to plant a seed of doubt… “Did God really say?” Then he maligns God’s character by saying that God is not truly good – but is after His own interests more than He is yours. Now that you have taken the bait to doubt God’s word and question His character, you are now open to use your own understanding since you no longer trust God’s. All you know is what you see, for you are no longer walking in faith… so whatever looks good or even feels good, you ingest. The word “know” here is an experiential knowing… an intimate knowing. Mankind was not created to experience and become intimate with evil. Mankind was made to receive and live on the good that flows from the Father of life. In becoming familiar with evil, man cut themselves off from God’s flow of life and began the process of dying – left alone to fend and provide for themselves with limited resources and limited wisdom and understanding. Notice also, how immediately after falling for the temptation, the man and the woman were both ashamed – and tried to cover up their sin. How many times do we rationalize or try to find natural reasons for why we do the things we do – and cover our behaviors or thoughts or desires… at least in our own mind, so that we don’t have to come face to face with the fact that we have given ourselves over to death and are dying. The only way to get back on the path of life and to have the shame and guilt taken away is for God to do it through the sacrifice of His Son. Just as God clothed the man and the woman with skins, when we place our faith on Christ, He clothes us with His perfect sinless Son and gives us His life.
Psalms: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and his Anointed One: “Let’s tear off their chains and throw their ropes off of us.”” (Psalms 2:1-3 CSB)
Ever since mankind gave himself over to self-rule, he has viewed God’s will and God’s ways as oppressive chains instead of life-giving instructions and guidelines. Ultimately it is all in vain. If you live on this world, you are subject to the laws put in place by the Creator. The laws of nature… God’s. The laws of physics… God’s… the laws of mathematics… God’s. You can spend your life fighting against, or you can surrender your life to and live in harmony with… but you will never escape the good and perfect will and ways of God.
Proverbs: “My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded… my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path, because their feet run toward evil and they hurry to shed blood… but they set an ambush to kill themselves; they attack their own lives. Such are the paths of all who make profit dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who receive it.” (Proverbs 1:10, 15-16, 18-19 CSB)
Don’t follow the way of unrighteousness, no matter how enticing it may be – for though you may think you are preserving yourself, you are actually setting up ambushes for yourself that will ultimately lead to death.