Another Word…by Gus Keiser

September 18, 2017

“…therefore the Lord sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

                                                                                                                               Genesis 3: 23-24

As I was reading the story this morning of Adam and Eve’s sinning by eating the forbidden fruit, I found it interesting how this account connected to two of the three books I’m currently reading. One of them is Bruce Feiler’s book entitled The First Love Story – Adam, Eve, and Us, an in-depth study of the story about God’s creation of humankind.  The other book is John Bunyan’s Journey To Hell.  Most people are familiar with Bunyan’s most famous work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, but this look at a fallen individual and his turn away from God is a rather fascinating read.  It’s the account of a young boy who is raised in a strict Christian home but who at a young age and because of his deplorable behavior and total disdain for anything “God” is placed in the hands of a master as an apprentice, the master also being a devout Christian.  His continuing misbehavior (sinning) and disrespect has him transferred to a second master, one whose anti-Christian attitude only further degrades the boys behavior to the point where he, as an adult, is referred to by the two men having an ongoing conversation about this individual as Mr. Badman.  Interspersed with numerous scripture references and insights by the two men (Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive), it presents an interesting picture of the decline and ultimate placement of a person in Hell after the decision to separate himself from God.

The decision to act in direct opposition to what a person knows to be both right and godly is something that can occur on a multitude of levels. For instance, if a person is trying hard to lose weight but consistently binges on ice cream and pizza, they are going to face disappointment.  If and individual commits a crime, the crime victim will suffer and the perpetrator risks jail time.  Should a husband or wife make the choice to enter into an extramarital affair, the marriage will be damaged…sometimes beyond repair…and any children that are a part of that family will suffer the consequences.

What do these three scenarios have in common? Every one of these accounts, as well as countless other failure-filled stories, can trace its origin back to the book of Genesis and the sinful behavior of Adam and Eve.  In the opening verses above, we see the results of the failure to follow a direct command from God and its devastating aftermath for those involved.  We see the repercussions of this disobedience reflected in the news that meets our eyes and ears daily…and, if we’re honest, reflected in our own darkened hearts as well.

But God’s banishing them from the garden, as we know, isn’t the way the story began nor was it God’s original intention. At first, Adam and Eve were sure of God’s instructions.  There was no doubt in either of their minds.  The two of them knew exactly what God expected of them because they received their marching orders directly from their Creator.  Still, all it took was a simple challenge (Did God really say…?) from the serpent to shake Eve’s confidence to the core.  Once she questioned what she knew to be true, she became vulnerable to Satan’s temptation.  When she and Adam then chose to act in violation to God’s direct command, sin invaded what had been an unimaginably idyllic paradise.

From a spiritual standpoint, what are you sure of beyond the shadow of a doubt? What do you know to be true?  From where does your certainty come?  These are some extremely important questions to answer because we face daily testing that is capable of undermining God’s marching orders for us.  And to make matters worse, there are going to be those who may question your mental stability…”How can an educated person believe in intelligent design when there’s so much evidence to support evolution?” And there may be others who will accuse you of being narrow-minded…”How can you say Jesus is the only way to God?” And there are going to be a few who will try to appeal to your sense of freedom…”Doesn’t this God of yours want you to have any fun?” Finally, there are those who may try to attack your source of trust…”The Bible is full of inconsistencies, and you’re choosing to base your life on this book?”

So, just how prepared are you for the assaults that are most certainly going to come your way? Have you got a tight grip on God’s truth?  How are God’s truths going to impact your actions, from the time you set your feet on the floor in the morning to the time you go to bed that night?  Mr. Badman or Mr. Wiseman…which will you be?

Lord, hold on tightly to us as you guide us by your wisdom, power and grace. Amen.   

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