In the garden God gave us all we’d ever need, complete provision for our lives and the ability to choose what happens in our lives. In Genesis 3 we see what happens in these choices. We see how God has formed us and where He has placed us. When we make these choices we have a tendency to say that I know what’s best for my life.
I know what is best for me. (v.1)
In Genesis 1 we see the serpent, a new character. We are given a description about the serpent before we ever meet him. In verse 3:1 the serpent is called crafty. This is a warning for us ahead of time. This tells us to pay attention to what the serpent is doing.
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'?" Gen. 3:1
In Genesis 2, all that was just created God said was good. God has provided beyond their wildest imagination. The serpent uses crafty words. Crafty means to make something look better than it is or to improve the way something sounds, to make something more appealing. For example, about an old, broken piece of furniture, a crafty person might say it’s vintage and has character. This sounds much better than saying it’s an old piece of broken furniture. The serpent says these things to Eve and there’s a shift in what the serpent says. We have this same tendency in us. We are skeptical and question if God really knows what’s best for us or do we know what’s best for us? The serpent has her repeat this question and think about it.
Previously in this passage, God has been referred to as, “Lord God.” God is the creator and is high and lifted up. God has taken chaos and created order out of it. Notice how simply and cleverly the serpent says, “god.” The serpent takes off the word Lord. The serpent reduces God. The word for god used here is a simple, common god, just a god. This is a sly move. The serpent does two things. He taps into the human desire that I know what’s best for myself and then he reduces God and makes God smaller. It’s easier to rebel against a god who is reduced. The serpent returns a second time and insinuates that God doesn’t really care about her.
But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Gen. 3:4-5
You cannot always trust god, the serpent says. The serpent says you will not die. Does Eve die? No. It appears as if God is a liar, that she cannot trust God. It seems like God just wants to get us to do things for Him. These thoughts are introduced into Eve’s mind. This taps into her own resolve and she is asking if she can trust God. Notice that the serpent never even tells Eve to eat the fruit. He just suggests it. Our tempter does his strategies in this way. He makes things appealing to us. All of us have experienced bad things in our lives. We’ve all prayed to God for certain things. Sometimes we also ask, “Does God really care about me?” This taps into one of the deepest fears we have. This is a heart process. Eve questions and after this process she chooses her own way.
We choose our own way. (v.6)
We can very easily insert ourselves into this story. We too have chosen our own way. So far this has been a deep thinking, long process, but in verse six this all speeds up. It takes us a long time to break from our long-held, deep convictions. The actual actions of rebellion happen quickly. The thought process behind the actions take time.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Gen. 3:6
These are rapid fire words: saw, took, ate, gave, ate! Eve listens to the serpent instead of to God. She gives it to her husband. This is the first time we are introduced to Adam like this. Adam has been involved in naming all of creation up to this point. Now, let’s think about how cowardly this is. Adam was alone and was given a wife. She was made for him by God. Eve is about to eat a piece of fruit and die and he allows Eve to be the test case! Adam is passive. When Eve doesn’t die, he eats it too. Men, our greatest struggle is that we are often passive in our walk with God. Many of us sit back and allow others to seek God. Passivity is a tendency we have. Adam doesn’t intervene; he is not caring what happens to Eve. What happens after these choices?
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Gen. 3:8
They have lived in a park-like setting. They’ve had a closeness with God. After this choice, their response is to hide. God’s presence is there, but they hide. Kids, what happens at home when you break something? Mom hears the crash and asks, “Did something just break?” All kids scatter and run to hide. This is our strategy too when we are confronted by our choices. Up to this point, this is the place where God’s presence is. They are removing themselves from God’s presence. In our sin we hide from God too. Where do you find the presence of God? Is it in your small group? In a worship service? In your quiet time with God? In our sin and rebellion where we find God is the hardest place to be when we have sinned. Our second tendency is our guilt.
The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Gen. 3:12-13
Kids, once mom finds us after she heard a crash we blame it on something or on someone else. This is as old as Adam and Eve! Our guilt causes us to blame others. The blame is quickly shifted. In the midst of our brokenness we hide from God. But, God pursues us even in our brokenness and wrong choices! Who is Adam blaming? He blames Eve and God. Adam’s closest relationships are broken. Sin destroys our most precious relationships. Peace is lost in this moment.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Gen. 3:15
Sin has consequences. (vs. 16-17)
To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you." And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; Gen 3:16-17
Two quick consequences are given to the woman. We see this throughout ancient times that a woman’s worth is tied to her ability to have children. Her children will come through the greatest pain as a reminder of what this cost. The relationship is broken and a woman’s desire will be for her husband but he will rule over her. There’s always going to be frustration. We will always battle one another. We chose our own way with one another too. This doesn’t just happen in a marriage but in every relationship in our lives. This happens and stems from the initial desire to get my way.
Then, to the man, peace is lost, the ground is cursed. Adam had a connectivity to the earth, the ground and the animals. His consequences are that he can still be productive, but it won’t be as easy as it was before. Men get satisfaction from doing a task and doing it well. Men are frustrated if things do not go well. If we started men talking about their woes and pains it would be a lot of talk about how things didn’t go like they were supposed to. Why did all this happen? Adam listened to his wife instead of to God. Men: our call is to press into God and spend time with God. Our tendency is to let someone else do this. God calls us to hear from Him.
God is gracious. (vs. 21, 24)
And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Gen 3: 21 & 24
In all of this, God is gracious. The greatest loss in all of this is the presence of God. There’s a loss of the closeness of God, but the good news is God continuously pursues us.
A Proverbs 31 woman provides clothes. God is doing a gracious act of provision here by providing clothing to Adam and Eve. In verse 24, the cherubim is a fearsome figure! The cherubim has a sword. It will cut you! There’s no way to pass and return to the tree of life. They have now sinned. If they keep eating from that tree they live forever in a broken state. Death is an act of grace. So, did God lie? The moment they ate the fruit they began to die. The wages of sin is death. The surprise is they didn’t die immediately and neither do we. We have the opportunity to be restored. God sent Jesus to defeat death and sin forever on the cross and resurrection. Our tendency in our sin is to hide and pull away from God. Stop hiding, blaming and come back to the cross. God invites you to be restored.
Sermon notes are taken, transcribed and posted by Jeni Martin Johnson.