Tag Archives: righteous

The Deceiver – Part Two

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.

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Second Question

Studies in Genesis 3

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

God does not give the man a chance to answer the question “Who told you that you were naked?”  before moving onto the next question “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Both questions are simple and direct. Both questions require simple and direct answers. God wants an answer for both questions. Both questions are filled with anger and disappointment. God is not happy those created in His image rebelled against Him, hid from Him, and refuse to come into His presence.

I imagine God questioning the man and woman while they are still hiding. When God calls into His presence those who are spiritually healthy and righteous before Him will immediately stop what they are doing and give their full attention to Him. They will stand before Him in eager anticipation. On the other hand, those who are rebelling against Him will not, of their own volition, stand before Him. They will turn away from Him in fear, tempered with the overwhelming desire to run and hide. However, they will be forced into His presence and then kneel in terror at His wrath.

There is no indication in Scripture the man continued to hide from God during His questioning but their guilt, their fear, and the obvious desire to not be seen by God because of their nakedness, suggests they continued to hide from His presence. No one can hide from God’s presence. He is omnipresent. Trying to hide from God is a futile attempt to absolve oneself from the consequences of rebellion and a strong indicator of separation and a broken relationship.

God’s second question is even simpler than His first. “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV). A simple “yes” would suffice. But their actions toward God and their nakedness leads them to a different answer. God told the man he was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His command was direct and unambiguous. Adam understood the command. Adam knew he had done that which God had forbidden. God knew the man had done that which He had forbidden. God’s question is meant for confession, to draw out of the man the acknowledgement of his moral transgression and lead him to repentance. God already determined the consequences of eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam will die, not only physically but spiritually. Yet God, the benevolent Creator, knows what He will do for Adam to redeem the relationship.

Adam must truthfully confess his sin and repent. God will forgive. But God will not stay sentencing and punishment. He cannot abide sin in His presence therefore something must be done to fulfill His required consequence of sin, which is death. God knows what He will do. But first is the finishing of the trial and the sentencing. Adam and Eve must answer the questions posed by God.