I don’t know about you but I’ve often had to learn things the hard way. I’m a rebel at heart. I regret to say I learned very little about life as a teenager by just listening and obeying. I had to find out for myself, like I said, the hard way. (My parents are vigorously nodding their heads right now) Even now when I see a sign that says “wet paint” I still feel that twinge of desire to stick my finger on the wall. There’s something in us that doesn’t trust those signs. Something that doesn’t trust the wisdom of our elders. Something that doesn’t trust God. And I think I know what that “something” is.
In many cases, learning something the hard way is harder than we ever imagined. Not trusting God can have dire consequences. It sure did for Adam and Eve. Let’s get started by looking at the way this story is told in a popular children’s Bible.
The fruit on the tree looked good to eat. Eve took some and ate it. Then she gave some to Adam and he ate it, too. Then Adam and Eve saw that they were naked. They made coverings for themselves. Soon they heard God walking through the garden. Quickly, they hid. “Where are you?” God called. “Did you eat from the tree?” “The woman you put here gave me the fruit,” said Adam. “The snake tricked me, and I ate it,” said Eve.
Sounds like a kid version doesn’t it? They heard God coming so they hid. Like that’s even possible. The parent, God, asks, “Where are you?” Then a specific question, “Did you eat from the tree?” Adam blames Eve and then Eve blames the snake. In many ways, this story is very familiar to me as a mom of two little girls. Let me give you a scenario. I notice the girls are awfully quiet so I go upstairs to see what’s going on. I see the two of them hiding behind the couch and some interesting crayon drawings on the wall. I might ask, “What happened?” and then follow with, “Did you color on the wall?” One will say, “She did it!” To which the other will counter, “She told me to!” Then the first will reply, “No I didn’t!” And so on, and so on, and so on. Can you relate?
The kid version is clear but let’s look at your Bible now and read the story as it is recorded there.
Genesis 3:6-13 (New International Version)
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." 11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" 12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
I can relate to Eve. And not just because the temptation involved food. I can relate to Eve because I am familiar with the process here. First, she looks at the fruit and sees that it is “good for food”. And it’s also desirable for gaining wisdom. This is the point where I would start to talk myself into it. The really dangerous part. Adam and Eve had surely seen the tree before. They had looked at the fruit and seen that it was good for food…but they weren’t tempted before now. I think this is an important point. God doesn’t tempt us. It’s not until the serpent comes into the picture and twists the truth that Eve begins to look at the fruit in a different way. The serpent is the one who tempts her, but ultimately, Adam and Eve are the ones held responsible.
Can you think of a time you were suddenly tempted by something that had never been tempting before? What changed?