1.Why did G-d show Adam this tree and then say do not eat of it? Why put temptation before them in the first place? G-d did not want robots. He wanted us, who could make the right decision, to be tempted and overcome that temptation and to grow by overcoming. He wants us to be overcomers and be a people growing every day. And when we do miss it to come to Him and repent and learn from our mistakes and go on with our walk, stronger than we were before. So He put the tree in reach. Adam had to make the decision on what to do – as we do each day. Temptation is always within reach.
2.Why did Adam and Eve choose to eat from the one and only tree forbidden to them? Let’s look at the interchange between the serpent and Havah (Eve) in Genesis 3:1-6. I want us to take a moment to see what appealed to her. In verse 6 she says, “The tree was good for food,” then, “it was pleasant to the eyes.” And lastly, “A tree to be desired to make one wise.” First, what do these three have in common? They are those doors into our spirit. How do we slip into sin today? We do that through things that appeal to our appetite, both physical and carnal. These are things that we deem good but which scripture has said otherwise. Things that appear to be pleasant to the eyes and lastly things that appeal to our ego. The argument of the serpent used all these in effect telling Havah that G-d had held back on them and by eating of this tree they could become as G-d.
To what sin can we relate this? When we desire to put ourselves in G-d’s place or to put something, anything, in G-d’s place, to what does it equate? Idolatry. So the progression was, lust of the flesh, (good for food), lust of the eyes (pleasant appearance) and desire to become like G-d (making one wise). Contrast this with how Yeshua was described in Phil. 2:5-11. So for us today, we are constantly bombarded by these same three temptations. They still pull us, but thank G-d we, through Messiah’s example, have another way, a more perfect way. May we each rise above these and be what G-d has called us to be.
3.Can you think of stories or events in the Bible where people made wrong decisions by what they saw and also people who chose correctly by remembering promises or commands they had heard from G-d?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the G-d we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel: Entire book of Daniel. He chose to not defile himself by eating the kings food. He truthfully interpreted dreams for the king and his son. He prayed to the G-d of Israel 3 times a day.
King David seeing Bathsheva
II Samuel 11:2-5 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.)Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
Samson Judges chapter 16 Samson did “believe in G-d” but he also viewed G-d as a servant to his needs rather than himself as a servant of the most high G-d. If we put our hope in ourselves or others we become like Samson: weak and enslaved. Samson is a reminder that our true strength and hope is found in the L-rd.
Joshua and Caleb
Numbers 14:6-9 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the L-rd is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the L-rd. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the L-rd is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Judas Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
4.In Genesis 2:25 we read, “They were naked and they were not ashamed.” Then in Genesis 3:7, after the sin had occurred, Adam and Chavah (Eve) realized they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together. What brought about this change?
They went from freely walking with G-d, to being afraid because they were naked? (Genesis 3:10) Their view of themselves had changed. Suddenly they view themselves differently. They became ashamed of their lack of clothing. The serpent was right on this, they did have a mind-altering experience but not the one they had expected.
Suddenly they saw themselves separated from G-d. They began to walk by sight not by faith. Their perception of themselves had changed. They felt shame. However they did not feel guilt. What is the difference between shame and guilt? When we walk by sight what is of primary importance? We are moved by what we see more than what we hear. Our world is built mainly on a shame culture. If you don’t fit in what happens, you are ashamed because you look different, act different. It becomes important how you look to others not what your character is or who you are on the inside. So most of what we see in magazines, movies or TV is based on how the person appears on the outside. Cultures based on shame are set apart by codes of social conformity. We experience shame when we break the social norms of our society. This is a powerful force, just ask any teenager. You feel embarrassed when you break those norms of your peers, knowing if your deed is discovered you will lose face with society. So my question is, how are we as believers to live, by sight or by faith? Are we to be governed by what everyone else does or how everyone else dresses or how everyone else looks? Is our key value how we look to society? Daniel was a great example for us in how to make decisions.
We are to be aware of the voice of G-d, to hear Him. When we have sinned we should be moved by guilt, not shame, to repent.
5. We have through the years talked a great deal about how the Torah and the Messianic Scripture compliment and complete each other. The Messianic Scripture is not fully understood without knowledge of Torah. Where better to see this than here in beginning of Genesis and the book of John. it is important for us to read John’s gospel as a parallel to the words in Genesis of the creation. My challenge to you is, read through this Torah portion and the first chapter of John and look for those similarities and see what you can find.
a.In The Beginning: They both start with exactly the same words, “In the beginning.” In fact I would think John had Genesis in mind as he wrote his gospel.
b.Light: Another is the emphasis that G-d created light (Genesis 1:3) and here Yeshua being the light of the world. (John 1:4-5, 9) This light was found in Yeshua who was like G-d in everything He did and said. All through the book of John we see this theme of light with Yeshua identified as the Light of the world. In Genesis the sun, moon and stars were not created until day four but light was there from the beginning. In John 1:10-13 we see that the world did not recognize this Light – Yeshua. In Genesis there was the initial creation of the world and through Yeshua we are new creations.
c.Word: G-d’s Word was the source of that light. At creation G-d created by His Word. He spoke and it was so. Psalms 33:6 reads “by the Word of the L-rd the heavens were made.” Other verses concerning His word are: Psalms 147:18, Psalms 119: 89, Psalms 147:15, and Psalms 107:20. In John 1:14 we read where this “Word”, this exact representation of G-d, became flesh and dwelt among us.
We finish with John 1:18 where John says no one has ever see G-d but this only Son has made Him known. We can know G-d, experience Him, love and worship Him through Yeshua His Son.
I would like to end with this thought. Adam and Eve had choices: The tree of life or the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Choosing is an essential part of being human. We can choose good, which is the way of life, or disobedience, which results in death. We choose between the two trees countless times every day.
“They heard the sound of the L-rd G-d walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the L-rd G-d among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8-9
In the Garden of Eden humans experienced G-d directly. They lived in simplicity and innocence, without sin, guilt or shame. G-d was present with them. He was revealed. He spoked to them. He walked with them. They knew His presence. They recognized His voice. He was not hidden. There was no searching after G-d. What has happened since then? Why has G-d removed Himself? Why has He hidden Himself?
Who hid from whom? Torah says the man and his wife hid themselves. It is G-d who called out to them. He called out, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9. We are the ones who have hidden ourselves from the presence of G-d. In our fallen rebellious state, in our place of self-determination we are unable to bear the presence of G-d. Where is G-d? That is the wrong question. The real question is where are we?