Friday, March 14, 2008
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17). Several things can be observed as we consider these words spoken to Adam in the garden of God. First is the immediate impression of ultimate authority that accompanies them. This is not a casual conversation between equals in the form of a suggestion from one to the other. The command bears the full imprimatur of magisterial authority. The omnipotent Creator has addressed the creature He formed from the dust of the ground and animated with the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). He whom the seraphim and cherubim hasten to obey has commanded the man who was made a little lower than the angelic order. Next, we must not fail to consider the perfect clarity of the message from the mouth of God to the ear of the man. Proverbs 20:12 declares, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” At the dawn of creation, all that God made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Thus, the first of God’s creatures, formed after His own image, suffered from no defect of hearing, nor did the Lord stammer or stutter in His speech. Thirdly, we must acknowledge the abundance of grace that was manifested along with the single prohibition. God had provided a banquet filled with wonderful things for Adam’s pleasure and well- being. From this table of delights Adam was free to eat until his heart was content and his soul satisfied. The last observation of note is the dire consequence should Adam’s will be moved contrary to the will of the Lord. God had not spoken in terms of probability or possibility. His words bore the mark of certainty every bit as much as clarity: Adam would “surely die” if he ate of the forbidden tree. The Hebrew reads more literally, “dying thou shalt die.” He who had given Adam life would require it from him should he rebel against his Maker’s sovereign rule. We must surmise that God had in some fashion instilled within the man a primitive knowledge of the meaning of death and what it entailed. This sure and foreboding pronouncement must have resonated deeply with Adam, even in his state of innocence.
Figuratively speaking, the thought of Divine judgment cast a dark shadow that day in the beauty of the garden, but Adam could never have imagined, even with his incredible mental faculties, the full consequences of disobedience: broken fellowship with God, the beginning of sorrow and pain, toil and sweat, thorns and thistles, sickness and death (Genesis 3:16-19). Not only would this come upon him, but upon all humanity born after his image: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). One can only wonder what thoughts raced through the mind of Adam when he heard those pronouncements of judgment prior to his being expelled from Eden. Paradise was lost over one single sinful choice: “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:23,24).
What about you, reader? Do you realize that a single sinful choice can have lasting consequences which could drastically alter the rest of your life? Wisdom utters her voice and pleads with you to consider carefully the consequences of every moral decision you must make, knowing that it is sometimes impossible to reverse a course of action. God is merciful and forgiving, but bear in mind that Lot chose Sodom and afterwards suffered great distress living among the wicked (Genesis 13:11-12; 2 Peter 2:7). We would be wise to learn from his mistake and not to repeat it. Many of us know people like Adam, who listened to the wrong voice, or Lot, who followed his selfish desires only to discover that they led to ruin and regret.
Freedom of choice is a wonderful blessing when used properly. When exercised in sinful directions, that freedom can lead to alienation from God, enslavement to carnal lusts that never satisfy, depression, and spiritual darkness. Don’t head down that dark road; it is not the path of joy, but of heartache, tears, and multiplied sorrows. Keep your eyes on the Lord; choose to do what is right in the sight of God at all times; make friends only with those who will encourage and strengthen you in godliness; walk in the light of God’s Word; and “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
To God be the glory,
Posted by Tom Chesko at 2:27 PM