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
“Did God really say?” We can’t see the emphasis, but I think the crafty one focused heavily on the word really.
The serpent’s plan was to get Eve to doubt God’s word. He didn’t try right away to get her to eat the fruit. He was clever, devious. Just get a toehold of doubt into the door of her heart and then He would be posed to throw open the door to sin. He is patient, wily, leading her slowly from step 1 to 2…not jumping to 10 too quickly. And step 1 in his temptation playbook: get her to doubt God’s Word.
It’s so easy for us to condemn Eve, but…don’t we do this every day? We also doubt God’s Word. God may have not spoken audibly to us, but we have His WORD – the BIBLE! Consider this one verse from Proverbs:
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22: 3
What danger do we see and refuse to take steps to ward it off? A lifestyle that is not healthy for my body? A car that is growing older every day but I’m not saving to have it repaired? Continued poor financial choices, relationship choices, use of time choices? The thought that skitters across our minds – “this is not good, I should change course…” should be followed by action, taking refuge. God warns us that suffering will come! And yet – we continue in the path that leads to destruction.
We shake our heads and sigh as we look at the life of Eve. “How could she doubt?” we ask. But yet…our choices to act and choices to NOT act render us culpable, as well. Just like our mother Eve, we doubt God’s Word. Where do we need to believe HIM? To believe His Word, we must read and know HIS word. That’s at least part of the reason we study the Bible. We are not just here to soak up knowledge, but to walk in obedience to what we learn and know.
As we study His Word, it becomes ours. We know it, we believe it, and we are ready to quote it when temptation comes.
And quoting it is exactly what Eve does – at first:
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”Genesis 3: 2-3.
(Actually, she changes God’s instructions ever so slightly. She adds an extra caveat – do not touch. Perhaps she created an extra hedge to ensure obedience – if she did not touch, she certainly would not taste!)
I’ve been challenged by God this year to intentionally and deliberately memorize large passages of Scripture. One of the blessings that comes from having God’s Word hidden in our hearts is the Holy Spirit will bring scripture to mind when it is needed. We can ask God to give us a verse that specifically addresses a challenge or problem area for us.
As followers of Christ we need to believe God’s Word. We must study it, know it, meditate on it, and intentionally live it. Not because it’s drudgery or a “have-to,” but because it is what is good and best for us.
The child of God believes God. And to believe Him is to believe His Word.
Lord, I want to believe You. Show me truth today from your Word and then give me both conviction and courage to walk in that truth.