What God Has Actually Said

Brilliant, really. How does a beast of the field take on the God of heaven? How does a serpent go head to head with the Sovereign? Sow some confusion, mix in a bit of doubt, and let the sensual nature of the flesh take it from there.

Hovering over the first few verses of Genesis 3 this morning. Noodling on what went wrong. How that which was created so “very good” went south so very fast.

While I marvel afresh at God’s grace at still entering the garden even after Adam and Eve’s rebellion; while I wonder at the Omniscient’s pursuit of those who tried to hide from His presence as He calls out to them, “Where are you?”; while I fall deeper in love with the God who, rather than laugh in derision at their pathetic attempt at masking their sin and their nakedness with fig leaves and loin clothes, makes the call to shed blood that He might make for them an acceptable covering; I also take heed. Noting how important it is to know what God has actually said.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

(Genesis 3:1 ESV)

That’s how it started. With a question? A question that sounded sincere enough, but twisted just enough, to sow confusion in Eve’s mind. A question that appealed to human reasoning but was meant to challenge God’s right to rule. God had NOT said they weren’t to eat of “any tree” in the garden. In fact He had said they could “surely eat of every tree of the garden” . . . just not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (2:16).

So that’s kind of confusing–eat of every tree, but not really every tree? Which did God really mean?

And once this image-bearer of God was destabilized by confusion as to the word of God, then it was much easier to cause her to doubt the way of God. “You will not surely die,” hisses the deceiver, “I’ll tell you what God really meant . . . ” And from there it’s all downhill.

Eve leans to her own understanding as informed by the enemy. She allows her eyes to usurp her ears, desiring what looked good for food more than heeding what God had said would be good for them. She gives into a desire to be wise like God rather than be led by a holy determination to be true to God.

So she eats. Then he eats. And then their eyes were really opened, “and they knew they were naked.”

And it all began with, “Did God actually say?” Makes me think it’s might be kinda’ important to know what God has actually said.

If Eve had taken her confusion to her next encounter of the divine kind in the “cool of the day”, if she had submitted her doubt to God’s direction, then perhaps she wouldn’t have been left in the tenuous situation of acting based on what she perceived as “a delight to the eyes” and what she thought should be “desired to make one wise.”

So, can we really know what God has actually said? I’m thinkin’ . . .

It’s why I feel such a need to open the Book more days in the week than not. Why I cling to the promise that the Author of Scripture is also my abiding and accessible Teacher, the Spirit of God indwelling me. Why I trust that the Spirit’s active agency of illumination is, in fact, active when I read my bible. Why I believe that I can have the mind of Christ, knowing what God has actually said, as I’m conformed increasingly into His likeness through the transformation that comes by the renewing of the mind through the reading of His Word.

If I can know what God has actually said . . . and I’m thinking I can . . . then it just seems it might save me some bad decision making down the road.

Only by His grace. Always for His glory.

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