Devotions in Genesis (week 4 – ‘The temptation of Satan and The Fall of man.’): (With material taken from James Philip’s commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith)
Monday: read Genesis 3:8-10. To grasp the magnitude of man’s Fall we must appreciate how greatly God desired communion with him in Genesis 3:8-10. Because of His desire for daily, intimate friendship, the LORD comes looking for Adam and Eve. However, their shame and guilt drive Adam and Eve from the open friendship they had with God. But it will take more than fig leaves and tree’s shadows to hide them from His all-seeing eye. God calls out ‘Where are you?’ – not because He has lost track of them, but because His voice is so effective to draw sinners out into the open. Adam answers in verse 10 because he cannot resist the God who made him. This is the root of all hope for salvation from the shame and guilt of sin: that God in love will seek us out and find us, no matter where we have vainly attempted to hide.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for His mighty voice, which makes it fruitless to run from Him – you will never get out of earshot. Better to confess right now all your sins, for the same God who calls us is also eager to forgive (1 John 1:9). What an opportunity you have right now! As Jesus says: “The hour has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).
Tuesday: read Genesis 3:4-8 and 1 John 3:8. God walking as a man in the Garden, with his footfall making Adam and Eve hide themselves – how is it possible? Only one member of the Godhead ever walks in human form in the Bible, the Son of God: sent to judge Sodom in Gen. 18:1-2; to rescue His own from Egypt in Exodus 3:2 and to accept the sacrifices of His people: Judges 13:20-23. Why would God send His Son at this time of crisis when Satan has clearly won a victory by leading Adam and Eve into sin? 1 John 3:8 tells us: the Son of God appeared in human form in order to ‘destroy the work of the Devil!’
Meditate and Pray: Thank God’s Son for His willingness to come so quickly, right when Adam and Eve sinned, in order to provide an escape from sin and death for our first parents. Do you realize that He was born of the Virgin Mary to provide this same well-timed rescue in your life? Romans 5:6 says so: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Wednesday: read Genesis 2:16-17 and 3:1-3. How willingly Adam and Eve mistrusted God’s generous provision to eat of all the trees in the garden save one. “Might as well have said that you can’t eat from any” was Satan’s slur against God’s gift of paradise (Gen. 3:1) – and our first parents believed him! So it has been ever since: we easily blame God for the miserable, deadly world which the sin of Adam and Eve created – and excuse ourselves when we willingly follow in our fallen parents’ footsteps. But the Bible says that God is not the author or approver of evil. He is not to blame.
Meditate and Pray: Until the curse of sin was reversed, when Jesus’ died in our place, ‘becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13)’, we lived in the bondage to sin of which Jesus spoke: “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). But now by faith we can receive what He did on the cross for our blessing – even while we humbly confess our part in the fall of this world into sin. Use the words of Hymn 499 (‘Rock of Ages’) to confess your own sin, and your desire for Jesus to save you:
‘Naked, come to thee for dress; helpless look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.’
Thursday: read Genesis 3:6-13 and James 1:13-15. Jesus says that our sinful desires and actions prove we are born ‘slaves’ to sin. But we direct attention away from our sin by blaming others for our actions, just as Adam: “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it”, and Eve: “The serpent, he deceived me”. However, James 1:14 teaches us that such excuses can’t hide the sinful root of desire which in Gen. 3:6 made Eve look away from God to the pleasing appearance of the forbidden fruit. Once she gave in to the ‘lust of the eyes’ (1 John 2:16), the Fall had begun.
Meditate and Pray: Let us confess that our sin problems begin with the heart problem of wrong desire. Thank God for His Holy Spirit, who is the only one able to change our hearts from the inside. He alone can ‘give us a new heart… and move us to follow His decrees’ (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Pray to Him to do that in your life, for Jesus has promised that God the Father will not fail to send the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).
Friday: read Genesis 3:6-13 and Romans 5:12. The deceitfulness of sin lies in its power to persuade us of its smallness: ‘It is only a little thing.’ But for Eve looking at the fruit as ‘good for food’ when God had said in Genesis 2:17 that it was deadly is no small error. The proof of God’s warning against even gazing on the fruit is brought out by the deadly results: ‘Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin’ (Romans 5:12). It would have been better for Eve to live blind in paradise than to look on that forbidden fruit as she did. (More on Adam’s greater guilt in this sin next week!)
Meditate and Pray: Thank Jesus afresh for His cross, which uproots lusts and sinful desires by showing us the real seriousness of sin, no matter what our eyes or feelings tell us. ‘Labor to fill your hearts with the cross of Christ. Consider His sorrows, the curse He bore, the blood He shed, the cries He put forth…’ (John Owen). How can we go on heedlessly in sin, pursuing the pleasure of our sinful eyes when Jesus has already suffered for those sins we so eagerly pursue?