Sunday, November 21, 2010

They Realized They Were Naked

I'm hoping I got your attention with my title. :) I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks but I haven’t abandoned looking at the story of Adam and Eve. It's been busy around here with work and the high school football season coming to a close. So I’m just going to jump right in.

I really find this next part interesting. We looked at the progression of sin and broke it down into Take Notice, Taken Over, Take Actions, and Take Others. We touched on the consequences of our sin. But today we’re going to go a little deeper and take a close look at the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin and what it means for all of us. Yesterday we looked at the twisted words, at what they said. Today we’ll look at what they did and what the consequences were. Look at Genesis 3:7-13.

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. 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. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So let’s start breaking down what they did. Verse 7 says, “...the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked...” I have to say that when I started digging a little deeper into this story it made me think, “What’s the deal with them being naked? Why did that suddenly matter? They were naked before; did they really not realize it? They were husband and wife and God had never told them they needed clothes. It was perfectly appropriate for them to be naked. Genesis 2:25, the last verse before the serpent comes on the scene, tells us, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” So. What was it about sin that made them want to cover their nakedness?” Let me tell you, what I found was fascinating!

First, I looked up the word “naked” in the original language, Hebrew. Here’s what I found. The Hebrew word used here is ‘Arowm or ‘Arom meaning “to be nude or naked”. Okay, no big deal right? But I want you to look at another word. Read Genesis 3:1 again.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.

Now this word “crafty” in Hebrew is ‘Aruwm. Looks similar doesn’t it? Here’s the fascinating part. Both words come from the same root word ‘Aram. Why is that interesting? Here is the definition in my Key Word Study Bible Lexicon.

‘Aram; this root means to be bare, to be smooth; to be cunning, to be crafty; to act craftily, to form a cunning plan, to deal subtly; to act prudently. Since it is a neutral term, the context determines the nuance.

Can you see what I’m getting at? “The context determines the nuance.” So I ask you, in context, what definition makes the most sense? Yes they were “bare” and “smooth” so they were naked, but is it possible that when their eyes were opened, they saw that they were “crafty”? Could it be that what they saw was that they were like the serpent? I don’t know for sure, I’m just saying. Interesting.

There are many commentaries on what it means that they “realized they were naked.” No matter what, their nakedness was now shameful and they tried to cover themselves and that’s what we’ll look at next. In the meantime consider…have you realized that you are naked before God? What does that mean? And what are you going to do about it?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So What To Do?

So sin and temptation isn’t unique to Adam and Eve and it isn’t unique to you and me. All of mankind has been enticed by his or her own evil desire. Let’s look at another example in scripture of this progression. Read 2 Samuel 11 and read verses 1-17:

David and Bathsheba
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.

David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
What part of the story describes when David TOOK NOTICE?

In what way did David move to the next step until he was TAKEN OVER?

David definitely TAKES ACTION. How?

In what ways did David TAKE OTHERS?

So what do we do? We know sin is progressive but how do we keep ourselves from playing things all the way out? We can’t always control what comes before our eyes. It’s what happens in our minds afterwards that can lead us down one road or another. We might TAKE NOTICE, but how do we keep from being TAKEN OVER? This is where the battle is won or lost. In the story of Adam and Eve, it says, “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…” Can you see the dramatic buildup even in this one little verse? “…good for food…pleasing to the eye…and also (dun, dun, duuuun) desirable for gaining wisdom…” What does all that mean? While doing research, I found that the Hebrew for the phrase “desirable for gaining wisdom” is venechmad ha'etz lehaskil which more literally translated means “desirable to contemplate”.

What do you think “desirable to contemplate” means? How could that fall into the sin category?

What is something that when you look at it, you are then tempted to spend some time with it in your mind, going to places in your head that you shouldn’t?

This is the key. Once you TAKE NOTICE of something, you come to a fork in the road. The battle is won or lost in the mind first. To win the battle, to keep from being TAKEN OVER, we must be properly equipped.

Read Ephesians 6:10-18 :

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of
peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

We could do an entire Bible study on these verses but I wanted you to get the point that we need to be protected with the “belt of truth” which holds everything else up and then armed with the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” If Eve had gone back to what she knew was true according to God’s word (Eve didn’t have a Bible so I mean His actual/literal words), she could have stood up to the serpent’s schemes. In order to arm ourselves, we need God’s Word. When we face temptation, He can then call those scriptures to mind. Romans 8:5 says,

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

I want to “set my mind” on what the Spirit desires. Let’s arm ourselves with some verses that we can commit to memory so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be victorious when we are tempted.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Phil. 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Psalm 119:37
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Psalm 141:8
But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge – do not give me over to death.

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As we draw to a close today I am reminded that it is easy to be a little hard on Eve. If you thought you couldn’t relate to Eve, if you thought you might have done better if it had been you in the Garden of Eden, I hope today’s study has caused you to take a good honest look at your own heart and the depth of your sin. I don’t believe we can truly begin to fathom what Christ did for us on the cross, and can rely completely on Him as Savior until we acknowledge that we’ve got nothing to bring to the table.

I purposely used the word “take” when describing sin’s progression because I want us to remember that sin is a taker. Sin is selfish. Sin puts my eyes on me and not on God. Sin has consequences. We looked at the consequences for David. We considered the consequences in our own lives, and next we will take a deeper look at the consequences of sin for Adam and Eve and in turn, for all of mankind. But don’t get discouraged friends. God has provided a remedy for our situation and we’re going to get to it. So hang in there and stay with it!

If you have stuck with this very long post…thank you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sin: Who is to Blame?

Last time we looked at how and why we are tempted, and who does the tempting. I want to take it a little further this time. Look at James 1:13-15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam had the audacity to put the blame on God and Eve first. He said in verse 12, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Eve doesn’t go so far as to blame God. Notice she doesn’t say, “The serpent you put here, he deceived me.” But she does blame the serpent for deceiving her and then admits she ate.

So what’s really going on here? Whose fault is it? Looking back at James 1:13 – 15, I think Eve got into trouble when she turned to her “own evil desire”. She got into trouble when she went from listening to God, to listening to the serpent, and from looking at the fruit, to looking at what was in it for Eve. She, “by her own evil desire”, is dragged away and enticed. Essentially, the serpent asked her, “But Eve, what do you want?”

Here is the verse again to refresh your memory. Genesis 3:6:

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.

Can you see the progression here?
1. Eve “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye”
2. It was also “desirable for gaining wisdom”
3. She “took some and ate it”
4. She “gave some to her husband”

Sin is progressive. If we feed it, it grows. It starts with the eyes when we TAKE NOTICE. We don’t always have control over what comes into our line of sight, but when we linger on it, it often escalates to desire and we are TAKEN OVER. If we then feed that desire, if we are taken over, we will become increasingly agitated until we TAKE ACTION. Once we take action, we then TAKE OTHERS down with us. Even if we don’t intentionally seek to drag another person into our sin, our sin affects those around us. One of the lies we often tell ourselves about our sin is that it’s not hurting anyone else. But I can think of lots of examples, can you?

Now this situation isn’t unique to Adam and Eve and it isn’t unique to you and me. All of mankind has been enticed by his or her own evil desire. Let’s think through some possible scenarios. I will fill in the TAKE NOTICE. You fill in the rest. There’s no wrong answer here so really think it through and see what you come up with.

TAKE NOTICE = Had a fight with your husband last night and then see that cute guy at work who is always so nice.

TAKE NOTICE = Watch a tv show about super skinny supermodels

If you notice, no sin is happening in the initial phase. There might be something unwise for you personally in the TAKE NOTICE, but nothing inherently evil. We could probably think of lots of other examples. Sin has no prejudice. It can destroy us a million different ways. Next time we’ll look at another of the many examples in the Bible of this progression and how temptation is a struggle for even the most righteous men. But don’t despair, we will get to the, “So what do I do about it” part. Hang in there with me!