They had it made; a perfect world, a perfect marriage, a perfect home and a perfect future. They had everything that we long for today. No cares or worries. No concern for what tomorrow would bring them. Strife, stress, tension were unknown to them. It's hard to fathom how they could be led to risk everything they had for a mere suggestion that they could have more.
To Eve we see the unfolding of this attack upon her relationship with God. As she found herself standing before the forbidden tree she was instantly subjected to words from our enemy that, once entertained, would prove deadly.
"And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-4
This exchange reveals a strategy so effective that even today, with all that we know about the fall of Adam and Eve, we too are often taken in the same snare. What was the seed that Satan planted in Eve's mind?
One: Distrust of God's Love
Two: Doubting of God's Wisdom
What a brilliant, diabolical plan of attack. If Satan could get Eve to believe that God had not and was not doing everything with her best interest in mind, he would cause her to fall. He tells Eve that God is holding back a greater good from her and by implication cast an unfavorable light on God's wisdom in the boundary He set.
When we think about our own struggles on this Christian walk, we find that the attack of the enemy is the same. He attempts to cause us to doubt God's love for us. Sometimes he does this by reminding us of our failures and sins. Surely we could not expect the favor of God with such sullied pasts. Surely God has better, more faithful followers to help and to bless.
And once we distrust His love in any degree, it is a natural progression to doubt His wisdom. The boundaries that He has given us through His word now appear to be optional. The rules of life He has outlined, the path laid before us by the footprints of Jesus, now appear less clear. Our zeal for God wanes and we find ourselves bringing a sacrifice to God of our own choosing.
But the love of God is not dependent on our understanding of it. Nor is His love only for those who live sinless lives and have spotless histories.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
What Adam and Eve learned after their epic fall was that they had only begun to understand the love of God. It was so strong that it would spare nothing to restore man back to God.
The story of the prodigal soon covers the same theme. And in many ways this story is ours. Like that son who realized that home was the place to be, God draws us home to Him. It is only by the grace of God that we realize God's ways are the best ways.
The young lad doubted his father's love. His hope was that in mercy his father would allow him the role of a servant. It was only logical that he had forfeited forever his father's love. But the son was wrong.
The love of the father for his wayward son was so broad that nothing he had done could diminish it. His love was not dependent on his son understanding it or even accepting it. It was a love that was unbreakable.
As Jesus tells the story recorded in Luke chapter 15 of the returning son and the father that runs to meet him, He is but illustrating again the love of God. The eager father waiting for his son's return is just a shadow of our God's longing for our return to him.
Our prayers must be that we could learn more of this heavenly love that gave all to ransom us. We must pray that we would have complete trust in the wisdom of God, even when it defies our reasoned logic. We must pray that we would indeed walk by faith and not by sight.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does "distrusting God's love" mean to you?
- What Bible character demonstrated a real trust in God's love and how so.
- What Bible character demonstrated a distrust of God's love and how so.
- What does "doubting the wisdom of God" mean to you?
- What Bible character demonstrated confidence in God's wisdom and how.
- What Bible character demonstrated doubt in God's wisdom and how.
- What is the difference, if any, between God's love and man's love?
- What examples are there for us in how God dealt with Adam and Eve and how we are to deal with others?
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: The better we are, the more faithful and obedient we are, the more God loves us. Explain your answer.
We close this week's lesson on Crisis in Eden with a text that gives us more insight into the mind of God. Let's take Him at His word:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School.
For info on Sabbath School Staff Training please visit HERE
For online lesson please visit: http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/16a/less02.html