Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. 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 3:1-5)
Inevitably, this day would come—the day of temptation for our first parents. Before temptation the garden had been a place of innocence, which meant that our first parents had not been exposed to anything but a perfect environment and a perfect Creator. There was nothing about which to make moral decisions; choices were not possible. They were innocent because they were sheltered. Therefore God allowed temptation, so his creatures would have a choice to either love Him or reject Him. Without this choice, they were like robots.
The serpent became the tempter. He was the devil, the slanderer of God and His nature; the tempter was Satan, God’s adversary … deceiver, and the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10). His origin would be described later in Isaiah 14:12-17 … he had been Lucifer (“light bearer”) and son of the morning, but became the one who exalted himself in God’s presence and willed to be like God. This same Lucifer was cast out of heaven, and became the enemy of God.
Note the tempter’s cunning. His target was the woman, who became deceived by his arguments. The tempter convinced the woman that God was keeping them from good things … by not allowing them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Weakened by his suggestions, the woman listened to an outright lie: “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.”
Yes, they would die. And no, they would not be like God if they ate. Nothing the devil said was true, because he in a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
What happened here? In essence, the woman questioned the character of God, and then rejected the Word of God. This is the pattern for all temptation.
For Further Review
1. Ponder the blessing of the gift of choice. How does this gift make a loving relationship with God more genuine and meaningful?
2. Read John 8:44 and Ephesians 6:10-13. What protection do we need if we’re going to be able to remain strong against the devil’s tactics? Consult Ephesians 6:14-18 for the Biblical answer.
3. Think of an example in your own life when temptation deceived you into questioning the character or Word of God. Talk to God about that situation and pray the prayer of Matthew 6:13a to gain God’s help against that temptation today and in the future.
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