Verse of the Day Devotion: Genesis 3:4
“The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!” – Genesis 3:4
This verse is found in the verses that describe the fall of Adam and Eve. The serpent in our focus verse is described as the craftiest of all the beast of the field. The Hebrew word for crafty means cunning (usually in a bad sense). It also has the idea of prudent and subtle. He then says to Eve, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1b. There are several things that is intriguing with this. First, it appears that this was part of a discussion they were having already, and it is questioning her to create doubt in Eve. But more interesting is this creature had the ability to reason and to speak in a way Eve understood.
She then answers the creature by saying they can eat of any tree in the garden except from the one tree in the middle of the garden, for God has told us we will die if we do. At this point she still believed what God told her. Then the serpent counters what God told her. “You surely will not die!” Genesis 3:4 However, it throws in another idea which, as we will see, caused her to doubt what they were told. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5. Aha, it has now told her that God was withholding something from her. They would not die; in fact, they would actually become like God Himself if they did eat.
So, Eve began to mull this over in her mind. According to the serpent, they would not die, for the fruit was good for food. It was lovely and looked incredibly delicious and would allow them to gain in wisdom to the level of God. These were the things she, and no doubt Adam also, desired. So she ignored the warning God gave them regarding the fruit and ate it, also giving one to Adam so he could enjoy the same blessing the fruit would impart it on her.
Well, it did not turn out that well for them. Yes, their understanding increased, but not as they hoped for. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Genesis 3:7. They understood they had done wrong and disobeyed God. They felt the need to cover themselves with the leaves of the fig tree. They now lost the peace they had with God. Not only did they not want to see God, but they hid from Him hoping He would not know.
Satan does the same thing with us today. We see many of the rules placed upon us by the Word of God as not really meaning what we had always understood. Satan tempts us by saying, “God really did not mean these things were wrong. Besides, they are enjoyable and will benefit you as well.” And because we see these things as pleasing to our flesh, we have to make a decision. Do we obey God, or do we assume we do not truly understand and, like Eve, partake in the sin. The world does this all the time. However, many Christians are also tricked into partaking because they also fall prey to the ‘I know more than God’ syndrome. We may not think specifically we do, but that is the result of pondering the words spoken by the serpent just as Eve did. And I hate to say we all do this occasionally, with no exception for myself.
It is important that we not listen to the words of the enemy. We must become so familiar with God’s Word that we do not fall for the serpent’s cunning ways. We must understand what is acceptable and what is not and stand firm when tempted to go against what God has said. The enemy tempts us with our self-indulgent sinful desires. We need to understand this and tell him, as Jesus did, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’ We must use scripture and our desire to please God to defeat the serpent just as Jesus did in His moment of temptation. This must be our goal. We may fail at times, but these times must become less frequent. And when we do, we need to do as John said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. We must remember the words of Solomon when he said, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12. For just as Eve listened to the serpent and did what she chose which led to death, so will our choosing to do what we want that is contrary to God’s will.
Study God’s Word and know what it says and choose at all times to follow it. It will help in your battle against the temptations of the enemy.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.