Meditations on the Psalms
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. (Psalm 1:1 ESV)
In Genesis 3 we see the Deceiver, in the guise of a serpent, speaking to the first woman about a boundary God had placed upon the first man, Adam. God had placed a single restriction upon Adam by telling him to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV). God then created a woman, Eve, out of the man. It was the woman who was tempted to rebel against God and then the man who actually rebelled. However, it is the Deceiver who inserted the catalyst into the minds of the Adam and Eve to rebel against God.
While reasoning with the Eve, The Deceiver lied, suggesting the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had some superstitious, magical quality which would make her as wise and knowledgeable as God. She looked at the fruit and saw it was “good for food,” appealing to her fleshly need for nourishment, that it was a “delight to the eyes,” appealing to her worldly perception, and that it was “desired to make one wise,” a complete lie of the Deceiver, also known as the devil (Genesis 3:6 ESV).
All of the trees of the garden were beautiful and good for food. She had permission to eat from any other tree, but the Deceiver focused her attention upon this one tree because of its forbidden status. She believed Its words that God was deliberately withholding something from her that was good and desirable. One the other hand, the man did what she suggested. Both ate but it was the eating of the man which brought spiritual separation from God to all, not the eating of the woman.
From this account, we discover the first physical act of rebellion against God from those who are created in His image for intimate relationship with Him. However, the temptations of the Deceiver suggest It, also created by God but without the image of God, had already actively and purposefully rebelled against Its Creator. We can only assume answers to the question of why God allowed this creature to rebel against Him and then allowed It to tempt the first people. We can know the Deceiver hates God and will do everything in Its power to undo, corrupt and destroy that which God has done. It is at war with God and stands diametrically opposed to all that is God.
So, in Psalm 1 we see a righteous Man and those who follow Him, and a Deceiver and those who follow It. Those who follow the righteous Man are identified with Him. He is Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Jesus Christ actively draws people to Himself. His death and resurrection freely gives those who follow Him right standing before God even though none except Jesus can do anything righteous. Those who belong to Him will live with Him for eternity.
On the other hand, the Deceiver has many who identify with It, even though It cares nothing for them and wants them crushed. The Deceiver is a malevolent leader whose entire motivation and intent is to destroy anything and everything which shows God’s will, justice, righteousness, holiness, truth and goodness. Those who follow It are led to annihilation and will exist outside of God’s life-giving presence, for eternity.