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.

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