Genesis 3:1–7: The Fall
Sometimes, it takes us a long time to recognize that we are in the wrong about something. As the prophet Jeremiah writes, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Even when we feel that we are doing the right thing with the best of intentions, our judgment can be self-deceived to the point that we struggle to recognize that we fail to recognize even the most egregious sin in us. The Apostle John underscores this idea, writing, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
But other times, we immediately know that we have done something wrong after committing a sin. In those moments, the question is not whether we have sinned, but, rather, How could we possibly have come to that point? Where did we get off course? How could we ever have been so deceived? What would justify acting with such arrogance and disregard?
Satan’s strategy for luring us into sin is fairly consistent. In one way or another, Satan attempts to drive a wedge between us and God, and he does this by driving a wedge between us and God’s word. Satan first leads us to doubt whether God’s word is good, and then whether God’s word is true, and then finally whether God’s word is even relevant. This is the strategy Satan used to lure Adam and Eve into sin, and it is the strategy he still employs to this day. Our success in standing firm against Satan’s schemes depends on our ability, by the grace of God, to recognize and oppose these schemes by pleading and trusting in the power of God’s word. As we study the first temptation in Genesis 3, let us pray that God will give us grace to become more aware of the Enemy’s tactics in our own lives so that we can live lives characterized by increasing obedience to God.
1. What does this first story of sin and temptation teach us about the importance of God’s word? To what degree are you seeking to study, memorize, and understand God’s word? How might you find yourself misquoting God’s word with ingratitude? With legalism? By failing to fear God? By depersonalizing Yahweh God?
2. In what ways does Satan tempt you to believe that God is not good? In what areas do you feel that God’s word is too narrow, constrictive, and burdensome? Do the serpent’s words, “Did God really say…?” resonate with you? What might you do to cultivate gratitude in the face of God’s generosity rather than grumbling against God’s restrictions?
3. In what ways does Satan tempt you to believe that God’s word is not true? Do you struggle to believe the story of creation? The accounts of miracles? The stories of judgment? The account of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus? Rather than outright, skeptical disbelief, does your doubt merely downplay the seriousness of God’s holiness?
4. In what ways does Satan tempt you to believe that God word is not relevant? Do you believe that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than yours (Isa. 55:8–9)? If so, how does that belief affect the way in which you seek wisdom for various challenges in your life? When life is complicated, to what degree do you cling to God’s word with simple, trusting faith?