The Temptation Story
“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.” Genesis 3:4–5
I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. Romans 7: 11
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?” Genesis 3:8–9
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:10–11
The story of temptation began in a garden and continues through today. The story of temptation is written by the devil, the one the Bible tells us is a liar and the father of lies, pursuer of your destruction, the schemer, the tempter. God does not temp us, only the devil does — through himself, through others, through circumstances, through our weaknesses, through our past, through the cracks that we try so hard to not show.
God is good, God is faithful. God is for you. Take a few moments and read through the temptation story in the scriptures above. Read it, sit with it for a moment, read it again. Can you find yourself in that story?
The prelude to the temptation story always begins with God’s voice, always looking toward your good “eat all you want, enjoy . . . But don’t eat from this one tree — it will kill you.” He wants you to live and to live in the abundance of grace. The enemy’s voice, conversely, only looks toward your destruction, casting doubt about God’s goodness and his care for you. God moves you to ways of being that give life. In contrast, the enemy, the tempter seeks to move you toward ways of death and destruction. He tempts you, promising more than he can ever deliver.
And when you feel dooped, lied to, condemned and naked in the wake of our failure, God comes and asks, “who told you that you were naked?” “It was not me, that condemning voice comes from the very one who tempted you toward the dead things in the first place.” “Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” “I will never leave you or forsake you, even in your failure — especially in your failure.” “Let’s figure a way out together.”
Peace, hope and love