Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Enter the Villain.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Gen 3:1

Until the third chapter of Genesis, the Bible is a symphony of awe and wonder. Perfection and grandeur ooze from each verse. With the exception of God's warning to Adam concerning the forbidden fruit, all is positive and wonderful. Yes, the earth was without form and void, but that was no problem, just the process. Yes, Adam was alone and needed an help meet, again, no negative there, only part of the progression of creation. The first two chapters of Genesis could easily cause the reader to break into a chorus of "How Great Thou Art!"

However, the narrative moves us on to the third chapter where it all goes south. Enter the Villain!

*He Appears as a serpent "Now the serpent"
Serpent - naw-khawsh' (called so because of the 'hiss', it means to whisper a magic spell) Fallen Lucifer chose as his first form in which he would appear to mankind, a serpent. Not as hideous and despised as we behold serpents, but beautiful in appearance to the innocent and unsuspecting Eve.

Beware, we don't know in which form slew-foot, dragon-breath will appear to us. We can know that it won't be as we expect. He is transformed into an angel of light, according to Paul in II Cor 11:14. The gender, look, appeal and context will be a total surprise to most. Therefore, we are warned to not be ignorant of his devices. Peter advises us to be sober and vigilant, always on guard for the enemy of our souls.

*He Applies Subtlety "was more subtil" (the definition implies cunning and craft). Don't be fooled, the arch-enemy of God is a sharp cookie. He has a ton of tricks and is well practiced with each of them. He knows our weaknesses better than we do. He knows how best to pull the wool over the eyes of the sheep. It's hard to fool the fooler, to trick the tricker.

*He Approaches the Woman"...he said unto the woman..."
Woman - 'ishshâh nâshı̂ym - the feminine mortal

Why the woman? Why not Adam?
1. She is the fixer, as women usually are. With their capacity to care and share, they feel the need to righten perceived wrongs. If she was convinced all was not right, all was not fair, she would want to fix it.
2. She is the weaker vessel (IPe 3:7) Literally, "strengthless equipment." This has nothing to do with anything other than her build.
Question: Who did God give the commandment and the warning to? The man, before Eve was made. If the serpent would have approached the man with this insanity, what might have happened to the serpent? He might have crushed it! Lucifer didn't want to take the chance of getting his neck broke!
3. To get to the man, you go:
-through a woman
-through his stomach (fruit)
-through his ego (be as gods)
*He Appeals to the 3 desires (I Jn 2:16)
the lust of the flesh (food for a physical need)
the lust of the eyes (we covet what we behold; beauty, grandeur, etc)
the pride of life (life and death) "ye shall not surely die" in this life you can have it all, like God, to know good and evil"

This same 3 pronged attack was used against our Lord in His wilderness temptation.
the appeal to the flesh - turn these stones to bread
the appeal to the eyes - here are the kingdoms of the world
the appeal to the pride of life - cast yourself down, the angels will save you.

Eve bought into it, hook, line and sinker vs 6
-Hook (baited with fruit) - "good for food"
-Line - "pleasant to the eyes"
-Sinker - "desired to make one wise" It sunk her, and us!

6,000 years later, little has changed. There are a few differences. Adam and Eve fell while housed in a pristine environment. We have to do battle with the old serpent in much less suitable environs. We have hindsight Adam and Eve were not blessed with. Beelzebub has 6 millennia of practice under his belt. But in both cases, it all comes down to human nature and the basics of temptation; appeal to our lust for food, power and our pride and we are weak!

Thank God for strength and grace to withstand temptation and for mercy and forgiveness when we fail. Beware throughout your day of the wiles of the old lion. Be filled with and depend on the leadership of the Holy Spirit. May He lead each of us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

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