Our Barriers

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One of my favorite passages of Scripture is the third chapter of Genesis. I think it’s the best and most thorough explanation of human nature ever written. And not because of the fall of man.

Verses One through Six

The scene opens with the crafty serpent exaggerating the command (restriction) of God: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any trees in the garden’?”

Eve’s response about the tree is also an exaggeration when she adds, “…and you must not touch it, or you will die.”

Eve then buys into the serpent’s lie and she eats the fruit. “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” — Genesis 3:6

It’s a tale as old as time (literally) and it’s a great tragedy that happened before the fall of man.

Suspicion and Grasping

The decisions made by Eve and Adam happened BEFORE sin entered the world.

  • Suspicion: The root cause of Eve’s decision was a suspicion that God was holding out on her. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” — Genesis 3:5
  • Grasping: The root cause of Adam’s decision was a fear that he’d lose Eve.

Or to put it still clearer terms:

  • Eve put what she didn’t have ahead of God’s will. Think, “I need more!”
  • Adam put what he did have ahead of God’s will. Think, “I can’t live without..!”

They Were Human

It’s easy to read all this and think they were nuts (and also be very, very mad).

It’s also easy to read about the Isrealites constant struggles with idolatry and think the same thing. God clearly – fire, clouds, manna, quail, defeated armies, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. – was present in their lives. Yet they turned to idols again and again and again and again and again.

And why in the world would anyone put their hope and faith in poles, wooden statues, animals and stars?!!!?

Well.

The same reason we put our hope and faith in work, pay raises, 401Ks, love, food, church, television, sports, sex, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. again and again and again and again and again.

Am I saying we shouldn’t work, eat, go to church or have sex? No. I’m saying that poles are good for holding up tents, wooden statues make great art, animals can be great pets (and food) and the stars are a gorgeous reminder of God’s creativity.

Exact Obedience and Complete Dependence

God gave us the world and the fullness thereof. BUT…we must be alert about the barrier that this fullness can be.

And especially alert about OUR barriers – the things that we are putting ahead of God because of suspicion and fear.

Two encouraging Scriptures again:

God’s desire is “to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” — Deut. 8:3.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:4

God is serious. God is good.

photo credit: philipp daun via photopin cc

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