Today we come to the hard truth of our existence. We ALL fall to temptation. We want what we aren’t supposed to have and it ends in heartbreak.
I will assure you right now that I too would have succumb to the temptation that Eve fell to that day in the garden. You would have too. Maybe not the first time it was offered but we are no different that Adam and Eve; we want MORE all the time. God gave us the ability to choose and KNEW that we would use it for the wrong purpose at some point in time.
So let’s look at this heartbreaking story. I have a few questions I want to pose. I remember when I was a child, my mom voicing wonder at the fact that Eve didn’t bat an eye when a serpent was speaking to her. If ANY animal spoke to us in our language today we would be floored! Thinking about that fact today leads me to believe that in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve talked with ALL the inhabitants. The animals didn’t have the fear of man in them and they were all enjoying the wonder God had created together. Man had dominion over them though.
One of those animals was the serpent. We are told that he “was more crafty than any other beast of the field the Lord God had made” (verse 1a). He planned out this encounter. He watched Adam and Eve every day. He took notice of what drove each of them; what they chose to do with their days. He knew which one to approach too. In all the pictures we see Eve approaches the tree and is talking to a snake that is wrapped around its branches. I don’t see it happening that way. I don’t think she was under the tree looking up into it with intent already in her heart to do the forbidden. I think she was in the garden, like any other day, going about her business when the serpent approached her.
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Eve’s heart was full of wonder! Every day she desired to learn something new. She wanted to experience everything there was about this magnificent place God had made for her and her husband. Adam loved watching Eve learn. She was precious to him, beyond life itself! His heart swelled to give her what she desired.
The serpent watched both Adam and Eve. He had a desire in his heart too. That desire was to take control of all he saw. This was a secret desire that he kept hidden during all of his interactions with the other inhabitants. To this end, he cultivated a relationship with Eve. He showed her new wonders that thrilled her heart. Little things; innocent things of no consequence to him. He built trust with her, which was pretty easy as she was not expecting deceit but was simply enjoying his company.
“It’s time. I think she is ready”, thinks the serpent to himself. Eve is speaking with a doe and feeding her an apple when he approaches. They are laughing and enjoying their time together.
“Good morning Eve” calls the serpent.
“Good morning to you too my friend” replies Eve. Yes, Eve considered the serpent her friend. She knew no enemies in the garden.
“Would you like to take a walk with me” asks the serpent.
“That sounds like a lovely idea! Yes. Let’s take a stroll and see what is up with the rest of the animals today. Maybe we can meet up with Adam along the way.”
Together they set out on a leisurely walk through the garden, talking about the things they see and the animals they meet on the way. Eve has no specific destination in mind and easily goes along with the path the serpent is setting. As they approach the center of the garden the serpent poses a question. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (verse 1b).
This sounds like an innocent question. The serpent is looking for clarification on what he is allowed to eat. “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’” (verse 2-3).
“But that can’t be!” replies the serpent. “Just look at that tree! It is beautiful. How could it possibly hold death in its fruit? In fact, I ate some of it just the other day and I found that it gave me wisdom beyond my wildest dreams! It made me more like God. I’m certain it would do the same for you!”
Eve stands there looking at the tree for a bit, pondering the serpent’s words. Adam sees the two of them looking at the tree and walks over to them. He gives Eve a kiss on the cheek and the serpent a pat on the head. “What are you two up to this morning?”
Eve replies, “The serpent and I were just discussing this tree and its fruit. He says he ate it the other day and it gave him amazing wisdom. He said it would make us like God, knowing good and evil. I want that ability! I need it to help me in my daily dealing with the others in the garden.”
Adam has never denied his wife anything. How can he deny her this thing, knowing it is the desire of her heart? He stands silent as she reaches out her hand and picks one of the low hanging fruits.
“Look, the serpent is right! I didn’t die when I touched it! I wonder what it will taste like. I can’t wait to have the wisdom the serpent talked about!” She bites into the fruit and begins to chew. It is sweet in her mouth. As she chews she hands the fruit to Adam and he too takes a bite. The fruit has a wonderful flavor and both are enraptured by its taste as they chew. They close their eyes and fully enjoy this tantalizing fruit.
Eve swallows her bite and opens her eyes to take another bite. Shock hits her!!! Something is VERY different! She sees Adam in a new light. He is exposed! She looks down at herself and notices that she too is exposed; naked. She lets out a strangled moan!
Adam opens his eyes at her strange sound. This is a sound he has never before heard in the garden. His first reaction is to see to the needs of his bride, but he is stopped cold by what his eyes behold too. They are both naked! They have lost something very precious that they didn’t even realize they had until now. They have lost the covering of God!
Eve falls to her knees and cries bitter tears. “How could I have been so stupid?! I knew what God said, yet I believed the words of the serpent. He tricked me!!!”
Adam tries to hide his nakedness and also comfort Eve in her distress. “I’m sorry. I should have said something to stop you. We need to do something to fix this though before God comes to the garden tonight.”
They both look around and notice how the leaves of the trees hide the earth beneath them from the sunlight. Eve suggests they weave some of them together to make coverings for themselves. It takes them the rest of the day to finish their weaving project as they try several different leaves and techniques. “This isn’t working! I still feel different! These will never fool God! He is going to know” cries Eve.
“I know but what other choice do we have?” replies Adam. They both put on the coverings in what they feel is their most exposed area. “You’re right. This is NOT going to work. I think we should just hide. I can’t face Him like this!!!”
Adam and Eve duck behind a bush as they hear God’s footsteps in the garden.
“Adam” God calls out.
Adam and Eve wrap their arms around each other and silently weep. The serpent who has been enjoying their distress all afternoon has a HUGE smile on his face. He can’t wait for God to see His creations.
“Adam, where are you? Come to me.”
Adam slowly stands up and says, “Here I am Lord.”
“What were you doing when I called? Why didn’t you answer me?”
“I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (verse 10).
“WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (verse 11, emphasis added).
Adam replies with downcast eyes, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate” (verse 12). He squeezes Eve’s hand and draws her up to standing.
God looks at Eve with pain evident in His eyes, “What is this that you have done?” (verse 13a).
Eve looks over at the serpent with anger then back to the Lord. She lowers her head and with sorrow in every word says; “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (verse 13b).
God’s eyes flash with anger as He turns to look at the serpent. The serpent wears a smug smile as he gazes at God.
“I told You they couldn’t be trusted. You could have given this all to me in the first place and I wouldn’t have had to spoil Your ‘precious’ pets!” the serpent spits.
“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life” (verse 14).
The serpent laughs. “It was SO worth it, just to see Your face.”
With steel in His eyes, God says; “I’m not finished with you by a long shot! You aren’t going to be able to while your way back into her heart ever again! ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel’ (verse 15).”
“I’m through with her anyway. What do I care what her ‘children’ do?”
“Oh you will care! Wait for it… Your time IS coming!”
The serpent’s form is changed and he flees in terror at God’s words. God then turns His gaze to the woman. “I know you are sorry but there are consequences to your actions, no matter your motives.”
“I know Lord. I wish I could undo what I have done, but I know that is not possible.”
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you” (verse 16).
Eve stands mute as she accepts God’s judgement on her sin. He could have struck her dead right then, but He chose to spare her life. She knows nothing is going to be the same again; ever. With a heavy heart she waits to hear what God has to say next for she knows that He is not done yet.
God turns to Adam and shakes His head. “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (verses 17-19).
Adam drops his wife’s hand. His shame is complete. He placed her words above God’s. Earlier it was her shame that he was feeling but now he recognizes that it is his own too. Their decisions together have changed the face of EVERYTHING!
With pain in His voice, God calls them to follow Him. He goes into the garden and selects an animal. He kills the animal. “Death has entered the garden because of your actions. Don’t look away; this is your doing.” He takes the skin of the animal and makes coverings for Adam and Eve.
Eve weeps as she runs her hands down the smooth hide. She remembers the time she spent with this particular animal. Many happy conversations that will never happen again. She can’t stop reliving the memory of what it cost her friend for her sin.
God shakes His head. “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever…” (verse 22). God gathers Adam and Eve by the hand and takes them just beyond the edge of the garden. “You are never to enter this garden again. You have spoiled it with your selfishness. Now go.”
God turns around and heads back into the garden. Adam’s heart is breaking! He looks at his bride who has fallen to the ground weeping and then at the retreating back of God. He starts as if to go after the Lord but a HUGE cherubim with a flaming sword now stands between him and the path his Lord walks. There is no going back. God’s decision is final. Adam reaches down and gathers Eve to himself. “Come on Eve. We have to go.”
As they move across the fields stretching before them they begin to think back on God’s words. He told the serpent that one of Eve’s children would make the serpent pay for what he had done this day. Maybe that meant that they too would be restored to favor with God. They will live the rest of their days trying to make up to the Lord for their decisions.
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Father God, I can’t imagine the loss they felt that day! To have You walk with them daily then one day, by their own hands, loose that joy. MY heart breaks at the thought of it! I wish I could fix it; undo the damage of that day. But I can’t! YOU did what none of us could. YOU repaired the damage and restored the relationship.
How I LONG to walk in the garden with You! I wish I could experience today what Adam and Eve lost; but I can’t. What I can do though is have a relationship with You through Your Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Together they hold me tightly until the day when I can walk with You in person.
THANK YOU for that relationship!!! Thank You Jesus that You are with me every day, even when I fail. I never have to fear being cast out with a guard placed between us because You took ALL my punishment for my sins. I have EARNED that separation but You paid that price for me instead. No words can express my gratitude for Your sacrifice! Help me live my life closer and closer to You and Your will every day. Help me be the child that You say, “Well done good and faithful servant” to as we finally meet face to face. I YEARN for those words from Your mouth!!!