“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?’” Genesis 3:1
“Did God really say?” Can’t you almost hear the sly, innocent tone of the serpent sowing doubt into Eve’s mind? Entertaining this one, simple question would lead Adam and Eve to rebel and turn against the God who made them, and sin would enter the world. This is a big verse. But I wonder if you might be a little like me and find that after reading Genesis 3 so many times over the years, it can be easy to read this verse- with this one little question- and with sterility simply continue on my merry way through the Genesis narrative without a second thought.
Or maybe we do pause to think about this verse, and then with a calloused heart look down on Eve. Because we know what happens next in the Genesis story, we condescend her from our advanced, knowledgeable society and mature, awakened time in history. If we had been in Eve’s position, we would have identified that serpent’s lie right away! We would have been alarmed by a talking snake and immediately known it was up to no good! No, we are not like Eve…the foolish, gullible woman who intimately walked with God and in her ignorance listened to Satan’s lies.
No, this is not us.
This is not me.
Oh, but it is.
Thousands of years after the garden, we continue to believe this old, tried-and-true lie. Throughout the years I have been tempted by it in countless ways:
Did God really say children are a blessing? That they are a heritage?
(Because actually they seem kind of messy and expensive, and my friends with kids have to wake up at like 5:30am…)
Did God really say He is unchanging? That He is the Word?
(Because the Bible says some things that seem kind of offensive and not culturally relevant anymore…)
Did God really say I have to forgive?
(Because if you only knew my situation though…)
Did God really say we should repent each day? That we should obey Him each day?
(Because that seems like a lot and kind of legalistic…)
Did God really say I should honor my parents?
(What if they don’t follow Christ? After all, I am convinced God is calling me to do ___________ even though they said they don’t want me to.)
Did God really say men and women are different?
(It’s 2021. The parts of the Bible about gender roles are outdated and infringe on my goals. Besides, they’ve been debated by really smart Christians for hundreds of years right? So how about we just skip those verses…)
Did God really say I can’t love money?
(I mean, I’m not rich, so there’s no way I’m a lover of money. God is probably talking about those people who own planes and mansions.)
Maybe you have heard some of these same lies play in your head as well. But there is good news. Through the Bible, God has told us what He really did say!
I have found that as I walk through life, it is important to always be growing in loving and knowing God’s Word, and depending on His Holy Spirit to help me follow, love, and obey Him. In the moments where I am uncertain of what God says in His Word, I am most likely to be deceived by the question, “Did God really say?”. How good is God to give us His written Word…so that we can know what God really does say! Through the knowledge of Him, He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We don’t have to guess what God thinks and says on different matters; we have truth through His Word.
At this point in the year where the days are often cold and gray, it can be easy to loosen our grip on those goals and hopes we had at the beginning of the year to stay faithful and steadfast in reading and learning the Word. Dear friend, do not be discouraged! Continue to persevere and spend time each day learning and knowing what God really does say to us!