When Good Becomes Wrong
Mighty God, through Your Spirit You can enable me to do and be more than I can ever imagine. Thank You.
Read Genesis 3:1-13
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful … he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it” (1 Cor. 10:13, NLT).
The dialogue and actions of this passage never cease to amaze me with their descriptions of life as I know it, with its temptations and my responses. In “the woman” and “the man” I see myself. Thank God, I also hear him.
The passage is full of “good” things! First, the serpent is one of the “wild animals the Lord God had made” (1); and he is the most “crafty,” a word that elsewhere is commendable: “prudent,” the opposite of “foolish” and “simple” (Prov. 12:16,23; 14:8,15,18). Second, while the serpent’s words are commonly seen as a question, the Hebrew grammar suggests rather the beginning of a false statement that is cut off when Eve jumps in to speak the truth. That’s a good thing, but she expands and makes God’s word more restrictive; how often God’s people do this! Third, everything Eve sees about the tree (6) is elsewhere good (2:9), including “for gaining wisdom” (Psa. 90:12; Prov. 3:13; 21:11).
How can all these good things become wrong? Why does temptation come to us as “life will be better for you if you do this”? Central are the serpent’s words encouraging doubt about God’s words and his loving purposes (4): “God is a killjoy. Be yourself, do what you see to be good for yourself.” But this is to seek “wisdom” separated from “the fear of the Lord” (Psa. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). “Good” becomes “wrong” when separated from the will of the Creator. Money, sex, power and work are all great goods, but become “counterfeit gods” when put ahead of, or alongside God (Tim Keller).
God comes to the man and woman, walking around in the cool evening breeze. They, (and we), may hide, but his questions evoke response. The Bible is not about the human search for God but God’s search for us.
What temptations do you experience concerning good things? Ask God to open your eyes to them and to his way forward.
Lord, may the example of Jesus in the face of temptation be an example for me. Help me stand firm for You.
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