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Has God Said?

Doubt In God’s Word is Selfish

Over the years God has shown me that all sin begins with doubting God’s Word. But the doubt we have for what God has said begins with the much deeper and insidious root of selfishness. When we violate God’s Word we also disrupt God’s Order in our life. We’ll start and finish with the same passage but the focus will be on the “Fall of Man” in Genesis.

Galatians 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

The truth is that everyone will reap what they sew and there is no better proof than the fall of man in Genesis. Let’s look at what the Bible says in Genesis 3:1-7:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”

Has God Said?

There is a series of events here that are unprecedented in human history and are being repeated even to this day. This begins with a question in verse one: “Indeed, has God said?” The question raises doubts as to God’s Word. But there is something deeper. To reveal this we must look a little deeper into the circumstances. In Genesis 2:15-17 God’s Word tells us:

 15Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” 

God instructed Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before the woman was created. There is no indication that God spoke the words to the woman. That being the case Satan approached the woman with the deadly question “Has God said?” God spoke the command to Adam who heard it directly from God Himself. So, first Eve had to question the word of her husband which resulted in exalting herself to the leadership role that God had given to Adam and Adam, having abdicated the role that God had given him, followed the instruction of Eve. Notice that in verse 6 of chapter three Eve “from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”

The sinful process began when Eve was convinced to question God’s Word first by questioning that her husband had heard God’s Word himself. Eve desired to have the authority that had been given to Adam and Adam chose to please his wife rather than adhere to God’s Word. This not only instantiated the fall of man into sin but disrupted the Order God had establish at the time of creation. This is a familiar pattern that is pervasive in today’s culture.

You Will Be Like God!

Doubting God’s Word facilitates the ability of the carnal nature to exalt itself and gives way to sinful disobedience. Note that Satan did not say they would “be God” but that they would be “like God” but only in a limited capacity, “knowing good and evil”. Satan knew this from his own experience with God. He already knew that neither he nor man could be truly “like God” in any respect. Let’s look at Isaiah 14:12-14:

12“How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!

13“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.

14‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

Satan wanted to exalt himself to be God but could only aspire, unsuccessfully, to be “like God”. He first deceived himself then he set about the seditious work of deceiving man into questioning God’s Word. Satan brought the same doubt to mankind that he himself had thus causing man to exalt himself above God’s Word.

There was no doubt from the beginning what the tree in the middle of the garden was as God clearly told Adam that it was “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. The doubt was whether or not God’s Word was good enough for man and woman.

The “Heart” of the Matter!

All sin begins with questioning God’s Word in one’s heart. Here, Satan seduced the woman into questioning the words that God had spoken to the man. But the Bible tells us that Adam was with Eve. Rather than reinforcing God’s Word Adam began to question God’s Word in his own heart as well. In Isaiah it tells us that Satan’s sin began in his heart and he knew that in order to convince Adam and Eve to divert from God’s Word that he first must convince them to question God’s Word in their heart.

God’s Word and God’s Order!

But that is not all. God’s Word was not the only thing in question. God established order in the garden and gave the man authority over the matter of tending the garden. Not only was God’s Word violated but God’s Order was violated as well. Notice that Satan not only questioned God’s Word in his heart but he questioned God’s Order. What God had established was not good enough for Satan so he decided to establish his own order. Note what is says in Isaiah 14:13 “‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.”  Satan, in his heart, wanted to establish his own order thus usurping the authority of almighty God.

It’s NOT Satan’s to Give!

Satan offered Eve something that was not his to give, authority. Satan fell because he wanted authority that was not his and he deceived Eve by offering authority that was not his to give nor was it hers to take. Knowledge and wisdom are God’s and God’s alone. In Proverbs 1:7 it tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;”  and goes on in Proverbs 9:10 to say “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

So is it any wonder that Satan would attack not only God’s Word but the order that God had established in the garden? Satan enticed Eve to take the authority that God had given to Adam which disrupted God’s Order. To better understand this we need to look at the curse God placed on the woman. It tells us in Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.’” To fully understand that we have to look at the word used for “desire”. The word is “tshuwqah” which is stretching out after or longing. The context of this word is clarified by the following phrase “and he will rule over you”. This word, “tshuwqah”, is used only one other place in the old testament and that is in Genesis 4:7 where God encouraged Cain “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Here the word for “desire”, (“tshuwqah”), was used to describe how sin stretches out after and desires to control Cain. Cain and Eve allowed their sinful “desire” to take control them resulting in disobedience to God’s Word leading to grievous sin and also disrupting God’s Order in their lives.

Surely You Will Not Die!

Once God’s Word has been questioned in one’s heart the carnal nature takes over and begins to rationalize the carnal desires. Notice the things that Satan said:

  1. Surely you will not die. God is not telling you the truth here. He is holding back on you and keeping you from becoming like Him.
  2. Your eyes will be opened. You will know more than God would have ever told you.
  3. You will be like God. You will have the power that God has in knowing things that God has deliberately not told you.

Satan created the environment where doubt could enter Eve’s heart but the actions that Eve took were in her own carnal nature. She began to rationalize disobeying God’s Word with things that seemed good:

  1. The tree was good for food. Isn’t that the most common way that believers justify sin. It is useful for something “good”.
  2. It was a delight to the eyes. Not only was it useful for something “good” it was “pleasing” to the eye. It relaxes!
  3. The tree was desirable to make one wise. One can never be too “wise”, right? Not unless it begins with the fear (reverence) for the Lord.

None of these things are bad in an of themselves. However, these were used as a means of rationalizing carnal desires as something that is good. Her carnal nature took hold once the process of doubt was complete and she began to build a list of pros in favor of eating the fruit. No consideration for God’s Word or the order that God had established. It was now a matter of justifying the action that resulted from the fruition of doubt. The seed of sin had been sewn through Adam and Eve doubting God’s Word.

It’s the Thought That Counts!

The Bible tells us in II Corinthians 11:14 “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” This is exactly what happened in the garden of Eden. Satan presented himself as one who wanted the greater good for them. Satan was able to convince man and woman to set aside not only God’s Word but God’s Order because he presented himself as one who wanted to help better Adam and Eve.

The fact that sin crouches at the door and it’s desire is for us is a constant reminder to believers that every thought must be taken captive to Christ Jesus. II Corinthians 10:5-6 says “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete”. Imagine if Adam and Eve had “taken every thought captive to the obedience Christ”.

Imagine if Adam had taken God’s Word seriously what would have happened. If he had called out to God and said “God, You told us not to eat the fruit but the snake says You’re lying to us”; “Will we really become like You if we eat this fruit?”; “Will we really suffer death?” What would have happened?

I believe there would have only been one curse that day. Only the serpent would have been cursed. But that did not happen, there were three curses and we are still suffering the consequences of the fateful decision Adam made in not trusting God’s Word or calling for God’s help that day. Sin, that crouches at the door of the heart with a desire to take control, can never enter the heart when the believer takes every thought captive to Christ Jesus. Seeds of the deeds of the flesh can never be sewn resulting in death when the believer subjects every thought to Christ.

Faith In God and His Word Conquers Sin!

So how do we avoid the daily pitfalls of sin? First believers must realize that we are under constant assault to question God’s Word and/or God’s Order. Second, like Jesus in the wilderness, believers must rely on God’s Word as the only defense. I Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” But temptation can be thwarted by believing God’s Word and taking every thought captive to Christ. The Bible says in James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This can only happen when the believer relies wholly on God’s Word alone.

The believer must always be cognizant of the fact that questioning God’s Word is the first step down the slippery slope of sin. Doubting God’s Word is selfish and leads to sin. Finally, I’d like to end with a scripture from Galatians! But the key is taking every thought captive to Christ so that each thought is subjected to not only the power of God’s Word but the sovereignty of God’s Order.

Galatians 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

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