Friday, August 20, 2010

Frustrated? Seek God.


Dear Lord, Thank You for your love. I am grateful for all You have been teaching me this day from the question in Genesis “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” ... Thank You for hemming me in Lord so that the only place I have left to look is to You. Amen.

What I ran into was frustration. I tried hard and saw some little success but the thing I really wanted, to be delivered from obesity, did not happen because of anything I tried. I was unable to make it happen and continually lost the battles against my self and ended up thinking this was just one more way to show how inadequate I am. How foolish I am. How hampered and helpless I really am. Then after I prayed for His help today, I heard a preacher talking to some men who were in prison and he pointed out that statement that God had made to Adam and Eve: “Who told thee that thou wast naked?

As I began to think about that statement/question I realized the answer was Satan. Satan is the one who tells us we are naked. It is the “knowing good AND evil” that gets us into trouble with God. In God’s eyes our nakedness was not a problem. God did not tell Adam and Eve they were naked. Satan is the one who tells us we lack something, or are not good enough, or not pretty enough, or we are inadequate in some way, lacking some “important” thing especially something that "everybody else has," but we don't have. 

Gen 2:25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

They were not ashamed to be what God had created them to be. It is when we listen to the serpent -- in any form at all -- that we sin by not turning away and remembering/listening to God’s words. We got into trouble and brought trouble on us all by ignoring what God said. Here is the story:

Gen 3: 1 ¶  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?

The serpent did not introduce himself. He just started talking. And when he spoke he asked a question, as if he was ignorant and wanted information from Eve. He just needed her help on one point. He also couched his question in a false hood. He make it look like he thought that they were not allowed to eat of ANY tree in the garden. Eve attempted to correct his information. She knew the word of God.

2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

The first wrong step was in having a conversation with a serpent.

So lesson one for us is: don’t try to reason with serpents, just turn away. 

Even though what Eve said was perfectly correct and she was doing the right thing by quoting God, and correcting a Biblical misstatement, she continued talking to the serpent. Bad Idea!

Ephesians 5:11  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

She should have walked away at that point but she gave the serpent a chance to speak to her again – that was the second wrong step: politely letting him speak again as if he was a neighbor or a friend. This was the first instance of “political correctness." Somehow, gentle and innocent Eve, thought giving Satan a moment to speak again was “the right thing to do.” What could be the harm?

4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

The next step in the evil plan takes place:  the serpent, flat out, denies that what God had directly spoken was true. He contradicted God and by so doing called Him a liar. Then, not giving Eve a chance to speak he arrogantly gives all the reasons and justifications for denying God:

5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

He pretends to know the mind of God. He pretends that God is withholding something from her and makes God look selfish. In doing this, he supplants himself into God’s place, meaning he just put himself on the throne. And then he reaches an entirely different conclusion: He skirts the issue of death (which is the point) and talks about "knowledge." He took a life and death matter and trivialized it. He made God small. (We are to magnify God, not reduce Him.)

He told Eve three things (evil justifications often come in threes):

a. your eyes shall be opened

b. ye shall be as gods

c. you will know good and evil

a. YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED: with this statement he implied that her eyes were closed – but they could be opened up if she listened to him. Eve was living in the light of God, but the serpent called that light: ignorance. Eve believed him. She was inexperienced, had never spoken with a shyster before, HAD ONLY HEARD GOOD (GOD) BEFORE, and did not understand what the serpent was really saying. She was too small to see the big picture and so was trapped. She also did not turn away and run to God and ask Him. She assumed that she understood and let her “self” begin to rise up. She listened to the lies, and they affected her.

b. YE SHALL BE AS GODS: Note, the serpent is now speaking, not only to Eve, but to Adam, too. He is generously roping them both into his scheme. He is making them a promise, predicting the future, and telling them how to educate and elevate themselves, exactly as he has done. He planted a thought that they had not had before. They had been satisfied and content, but now, suddenly, they wanted to be like God. The serpent's words were so similar sounding to God's, spoken with authority like God speaks, that Adam and Eve thought the serpent's words must be trustworthy, too.

Lesson two: When you give the same authority to the voice of evil that you give to the words and voice of God, you get yourself into deep trouble.

c. YOU WILL KNOW GOOD AND EVIL: They obviously did not know both good and evil at this point. God is only good and God was all they knew, so they only knew good. But in this itty bitty conversation they were being lead down the garden path and out into the world. This is the one thing that gets in our way: knowing both good and evil. (Knowing means to be intimate with.) They had previously been intimate only with good. But now they were being taught there is something else that they are “missing.”  

Lesson three: not everything you don’t have is worth having.

So in essence the serpent told Adam and Eve that they would have understanding that they did not now have, they would be similar to God in status and position, and they would know both sides of the story after they ate the forbidden fruit. They would know not only the cloistered little garden they had been living in where the good was, but now they could also know evil as well. He did not explain what evil is, and did not call it that, he simply painted a pretty picture and dangled it in front of them like a carrot, enticing them. They had no idea. They did not question what they were hearing even though it completely contradicted what God, the creator, had told them previously.

Evil: Strong's Concordance: 07489. עער ra‘a‘ raw-ah’; a primitive root; properly, to spoil (literally, by breaking to pieces); figuratively, to make (or be) good for nothing, ....

Why would we be attracted to broken pieces? Why would we want the “good for nothing?” That is what evil is. It is only brokenness, the "wholeness" is missing. There is no good in it – it is only darkness and no light.

1John 1:5  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Here is the final step toward sin that Eve took: She began to picture or imagine what the serpent had been talking about in her own mind. Rather than analyze it for validity or even simply comparing it based on her own knowledge of God, she succumbed to it. She did not ask, "What are you doing?" She began to salivate at the possibility.

6 ¶  And when the woman saw

She felt she now had clarity. She now understood. Everything looked different to her now that she had listened to the serpent/teacher without question. And what did she see?

that the tree was good for food,

The lust of the flesh. How did she know it was good for food? She looked at it and thought it was. She leaned on her own understanding.

and that it was pleasant to the eyes,

The lust of the eyes. Wow. She could see how pretty it was. Her eyes were pleased and she was drawn to it, to have it as her own. (The first shopping spree.)

and a tree to be desired to make one wise,

The boastful pride of life. What she had previously not desired and paid no attention to, suddenly became desirable because it would make her "better." She would now be wise. Wow, she could become the teacher. She would prosper and be rich. She would have the understanding and the skill herself. She would be on top.

she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

She put out her hand, plucked the fruit and took a bite and shared it with her husband who also ate. It was easy, it was right there within reach, and she grabbed it.

7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And their eyes were opened. They now saw what they had not seen before. They felt differently. And what did they see first? They looked at themselves and knew that they were naked. The first evil thing they saw was themselves and what they lacked. They had not been evil before that. After they sinned, then they knew evil. So they went immediately to work to try to fix it. They saw the problem as “being naked” and tried to fix themselves by making “aprons.” They still did not recognize, yet, that the problem was sin.

8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Did you notice that they fixed themselves -- but still hid from God?

They hid their nakedness with leaves but still hid themselves from God. Guilt was now a part of their lives. That is what happens when you are intimate with sin – you become guilty.

They began to hide themselves from the sound of God’s voice – and the words He spoke. They hid amongst the trees. They were afraid of God and hid themselves from His presence.

Lesson four: The first place a person leaves behind when they begin to live in sin is Church.

They do not want to hear the voice of God and be reminded of their guilt. It hurts their pride and their sense of self and makes them feel icky when they continue to sin. They can’t pretend to be god, in God’s presence. The truth of God is way too strong for that.

9 ¶  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

The LORD knew where Adam was, he wanted to give Adam the chance to say where he was and admit it to himself. God was very patient.

10  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Adam was not only naked, he was now afraid. This is where fear comes from. From being intimate with evil. And what is he afraid of? He heard the voice of God in the garden and was afraid. He became afraid of God.

11 ¶  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

When God asked them “Who told thee that thou was naked?” it was like say, “Who are you listening to?” Just like looking at a child with chocolate on his face and asking him if he has been eating the forbidden fruit, God was testing Adam and Eve. This question is important. It is one we can ask ourselves. Fill in the blank.

WHO TOLD YOU, YOU WERE___________________?

Who told you that you were without resources? God has plenty of resources. We can fill in that blank with whatever we are ashamed of or whatever we are “lacking”. And the answer is always the same: Satan is the one who told us that lie.  What question should we ask ourselves?

John 20:15-17  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Lesson 5 is to ask ourselves “Why am I weeping, and whom am I seeking?” 

Stop and listen for the voice of Jesus. Is He saying something different to you than what the world says to you? Who are you seeking? Are you seeking to elevate yourself? Are you seeking evil? Or are you seeking God and His righteousness? Whom are you seeking? The answer will tell you what you have been up to.

Matthew 6:32-33  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Open His word and seek what God says about you. Then start saying to yourself the things that Jesus says about you. Take a stand for the word of God and let Him be the one speaking to you. Let Him be the Author of your life. That is called faith. The weeping will stop because you will be seeking God.

Did you ever stop to think that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb because she was looking for Him?  The Apostles were not looking for Him, they were in their rooms crying. So the Lord appeared first to the one who was seeking Him and listening for Him and wanting Him.  In just this way, if we seek Him, He will draw near to us, too.

James 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

What does Jesus say to you about you? What do you read in His Word? Listen to Him because His message is life -- and more abundantly! "Jesus Christ did not come to make the bad people good, He came to make the dead people live!" -- Ravi Zacharias

John 10:10  "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Most important lesson: You cannot fix yourself with fig leaves or psychology or a new diet. You need repentance and the forgiveness of sin that comes from Jesus Christ who is King of kings and Lord of lords. And then you need to continue reading His word and walking with Him.

Matthew 11:28-30  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Isaiah 50:10  "Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God.

Ps 16:11  Thou (God) wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.