A Crafty Serpent

The scripture for today is Genesis 3: 1-7 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

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, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Dictionary.com defines the word crafty as “skillful in underhand or evil schemes; cunning; deceitful; sly”.  As I picture the serpent slithering toward Eve, I hear the hiss of his voice, sense the plotting mind seeking to destroy her precious relationship with God through subtly twisting and distorting the truth.  Note how subtly he questions her – “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Eve replied that they could eat from the trees in the garden, just not the one in the middle.  If they touched it, they would die.  The serpent then tells Eve that they won’t die; instead they will become knowledgeable of good and evil, like God.  Notice how sly the serpent is, using her desire for knowledge and power to deceive her into disobedience.

Just like Eve, we are vulnerable to the serpent, Satan.  He knows enough about our sinful natures to craft lies and deception that feed right into our weaknesses.  In his book, “Gods at War”, Pastor Kyle Idleman teaches that we all have a God-shaped hole that can only be filled by God. When we seek to fill that hole with something other than God; pleasure (food, sex, entertainment), power (success, money, achievement), and love (romance, family, me) – we are allowing our sinful nature to lead us into idolatry and away from the Father who loves us.

Pastor preaches on an unholy trinity – our sinful nature, the world, and the forces of evil. This was a new teaching for me and I have found myself reflecting on that teaching since I heard it.

Satan is the prince of this world and the world is full of his deception.  We are bombarded with images and advertising that tell us that we must be beautiful, wealthy, famous, and educated; we must have the fancy car, clothes, and house; we deserve the latest electronic gadgets, the vacation of a lifetime, and the most fulfilling job.  Our sinful nature and its tendency toward idolatry are fed by the world around us.  Satan, the force of evil, is so clever.  He recognizes our desire for status, knowledge, and power – the human tendency to want to be gods of our own lives.  He then uses our sinful nature and human frailty to create lies – lies that destroy our relationship with God, with ourselves, with our families, with our friends and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Rather than focusing on our value as a beloved child of God, made in his own image, we focus on the lie that we aren’t successful enough, beautiful enough, talented enough, and powerful enough, etc.

Father, I pray that I can take up YOUR armor, put it on and stand confidently against the powers of evil.  Remind me each day that I am YOUR precious child, washed clean by the blood of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am “enough” – I do not have to conform to the value that the sinful world around me places on me.  My enemy, Satan, is a defeated enemy.  In YOUR Son, I am victorious against the powers and principalities of this world.