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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Jesse Tree Day 2Now 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.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:1-10

This is one of those all time, very familiar passages of the Bible. Also the most incorrectly represented in both art and literature. You ask any child {or adult} what animal and fruit was in the garden when this happened and most will say “snake” and “apple”. Even my own Jesse tree ornament has both of these to represent this passage. So if it wasn’t an apple that Adam and Eve ate, what kind of fruit was it?

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The only real indication was that it was a fruit unlike most. The consumer of this fruit didn’t gain in health benefits, but gained knowledge; knowledge between right and wrong. The opportunity to know if something is good or bad and having the capacity to decide what to do based on that knowledge. I don’t think this fruit was anything that we have available to us, much like the fruit of life. When given the opportunity to obey God’s command both Adam and Eve choose the path of selfish ambition, setting us all on a continual dual to be equals with God. This is what the serpent really tempted them with, however it wasn’t the only temptation.

My father, who has had a huge impact on who Alan and I are today, would often talk about the temptation in these terms: passion, possession, and position.

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.

Things that we possess and own consume us. It’s not enough to enjoy the beautiful things that other people have, but we want them for ourselves. Jealousy quickly settles in our heart and discontent for things we do have boils over. The fruit was good for food. It wasn’t just a want, it was a need, an item of sustenance {never mind the garden full of many other foods and fruits.}

It was a beautiful fruit. Not only was it something to be had for food, it was something to love for its beauty. Passion grows, but can also quickly fade. It can push us beyond our limits but can also become a thing that entangles our heart into an inescapable mess.

Finally the fruit would be a promotion, a step up for the new couple. They would no longer be the created of God, but would be more like him in their knowledge. The pride that easily puffs us up is the pride that blinds us to truth.

1 John 2:16 says it this way:

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Again we see the same theme in the temptation of Jesus:

3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Matthew 4:3, 5-6, 8-9

Three times the tempter tried. First with possessions. Would Jesus, who had not eaten for 40 days, be tempted to use his supernatural powers to provide food for himself. Would he be willing to set aside all that he possessed for one small morsel?

When that didn’t tempt Jesus, he moved to passion. Surely the Father would protect his Son if he were to fall. The scripture even says that God will send angels to protect Him. Maybe this would be a fantastic way to begin his ministry, like the final act of a 3-ring circus. Jesus falling from heaven at the top of the temple, saved by the angels. Who wouldn’t believe in Him after that. Jesus did come so that many would love him and follow him, right?

And for the final temptation Jesus was offered great position. The Roman Empire lie at its greatest moment. Jesus was supposed to be the King of the Jews, but the tempter had much more to offer. What higher position could be had than King, Emperor of the known world. Forget the lowly servant. Never mind having to die on the cross. EVERYTHING laid out for his taking.

This wasn’t why Jesus had come at all. Before he was born he already had it all. He created it all. He chose to lay it all aside, to humble himself and come with one purpose.

After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the entire creation was changed. There was a ripple effect. The ground would now be hard and full of thorns and weeds. There would be injustice, war, prejudice, pride, selfishness and murder. The whole creation agonized in pain. All seemed lost, and yet there was a glimmer of hope. One of the first prophecies of the Messiah to come.

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3: 14-15

The offspring to come would crush the head, not of a serpent, but the head of  the Tempter. There would be a price to pay. Although Jesus would be struck, he would die on the humble cross, he would not be defeated. He would return to life and put an end to the power of sin once and for all.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:10

Family Devotion:

Gather  a permanent marker (preferably black), a dry erase marker (preferably red), and a window or mirror, ornament and Bible. You may want to test this ahead of time, but trust me, it really does work.

Read Genesis 3 together. Talk about how Adam and Eve choose to disobey God. Because they ate the fruit of Knowledge, they were forced to leave the garden. They now had sin. Draw a bullseye on the window with the dry erase marker. Explain that sin is when we miss the mark of God’s perfection, much like a dart or arrow that doesn’t hit the middle of a target. Ask the family to think of things they do or have seen as examples of sin. Write these around the bullseye with PERMANENT  marker. You may want to make a big deal about it not coming off. Be sure it dries all the way before rubbing. No matter what kind of cleaner you use, how hard you rub, it’s permanent. Could be lying, stealing, being jealous, hate, etc. Read Genesis 3:14-15 again and talk about how this is a promise of Jesus. He is the Savior. He chose to die on the cross and take the punishment of our sin. Color over the black permanent words with red dry erase marker. When we believe in Jesus, he takes away our sin. Wipe the marks off the window. Yes the red and black will wipe off. If you need, color a little more with the red marker. Pray together, thanking Jesus for being the one who removes our sin.

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