Thursday, October 14, 2010

Twisted Truths

My brother Joshua loved to quote scripture as a young child. It was obvious my dad and stepmom would often say, “Now Joshua, the Bible says…” Soon, he was quoting his own scripture…and I do mean his own scripture. I remember once when my uncle was visiting.

Uncle: Josh, it’s time to go. Go get your shoes.”

Joshua: I don’t know where they are.

Uncle: Well, go and find them.

Joshua: But…the Bible says that when you lose something, someone else has to go and find it.

We may not be making up our own scripture, but many of us have been taught things (and then repeated things) that we thought were in God’s Word. And sometimes they sound right, they might even be almost right, but they’re not in the Bible, or they twist the truth of scripture...just a little bit. Just enough to send us down a dead end road. Some examples of quotes you may have thought were in the Bible are:

God helps those who help themselves.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Spare the rod, spoil the child.
Money is the root of all evil.
This too shall pass.
The eyes are the windows to the soul.
The lion shall lay down with the lamb.

Now these sayings are probably familiar to you. In some cases they might even be true. Some of them are similar to verses in the Bible, yet by changing a word or two, they say something completely different. Too often, a twisting of the truth, a misquote of God’s Word, whether purposeful or accidental, can have dire consequences. Today, we’re going back to the garden to look at how Satan and maybe even Eve, twisted the truth.

Read Genesis 3:1-5.
1 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'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 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.' " 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Let’s break it down a little bit by making a comparison. Let’s look at what God says, then what the serpent says, and finally, what Eve says. We will look at partial verses today in order to make more direct comparisons. I have underlined some words to draw attention to the differences.

God – Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but…”

serpent – Genesis 3:1 He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Eve – Genesis 3:2-3 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but…”

Do you notice the subtle differences here? Read what the serpent said again and put the emphasis on the word “really”. Can’t you just imagine the doubt the serpent tried to raise in Eve’s mind? Can’t you hear him say, “Did God really say…” Now read it again and this time put the emphasis on the word “God”. Imagine he says, “Did God really say…” Maybe he wants Eve to question whether it was actually God who gave this directive. When God is speaking to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17, Eve hasn’t been created yet. Maybe the serpent knows a good way to separate them from God is to first separate them from each other, so he tries to cause division by suggesting maybe this was just something Adam came up with.

He also twists the truth, right from the beginning, with over-exaggeration. He suggests that the rule is that they can’t eat from any of the trees. Even though Eve answers with the correct information, you can see the serpent’s craftiness. He’s trying to confuse things and raise doubt. Consider this…Eve had never heard a lie before. And she going to soon discover that someone is lying. This must have seemed so strange to her. Until next time, let's consider how Satan twists the truth in our own lives...and why we so often believe him.

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