When Adam and Eve fell in the garden, committing the first sin, they fell prey to a scheme of the devil. There are actually several things that occurred as that scheme unfolded. But one thing in particular stands out to me this day.
Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
God had placed Adam and Eve in a perfect home. God had provided for their needs and only given them one rule, one limitation. God had told them not to eat from one particular tree.
Of course, all of this is familiar, but do not give up on this thought yet. See what the devil did in his question. There is more going on here than we realize. Yes, the devil lied, and many have pointed that out. But have you also noticed that, in the question he asked, the devil was trying to get Eve to evaluate the character and actions of God?
Picture the thought process. The devil asks, “Did God really say… ?” in that question is more than a desire for content. The devil is trying to show God in a bad light. He is trying to make it look like God’s command about the tree is unkind, unloving, unrighteous. “Did he really command such a thing? How could he? Are you really going to let him do that?” And Eve answers fairly well. She is not willing to believe, at this point, that God has made a bad command.
But the problem is this: She did place herself in a position to say whether or not she felt God’s command was good or bad. The devil wanted to get the woman to put herself in a position to judge the goodness or badness of the commands of God. And while he did not trick her with his falsehood about the command, the devil got her used to thinking about whether or not she approved of the commands of God. Thus, when he came back by highlighting the fruit, the woman was in great danger.
Thus, the oldest trick in the devil’s book is the trick of convincing you or me that we have the knowledge, the wisdom, and the ability to measure the rightness or wrongness of the actions of God. The moment that we decide whether or not we approve of one decision of the Lord’s, even if we approve, we have attempted to usurp God’s position by making ourselves judges of the righteousness of God.
But remember, God is God and we are not. God is holy and we are not. God is all-knowing, and we are not. God is perfect in every way and we are not. God’s ways are as different from ours as the heavens are far from the earth. There is no comparison. We could never determine whether God should or should not have done something.
If you want to fight against the devil’s oldest ploy, you must surrender to the absolute supremacy and holiness of God. He is the Lord and his ways are perfect. When we do not understand him, we must take it as a given that he is good. God is not measured by a rule of good that is outside of him. Good is good
because it is what God does; but God will not and cannot be measured against some external standard.
So, the next time you feel like pondering whether or not you like the ways of God, be careful. Down that path lies danger. The devil used that as the first shot in his war against the Lord. Adam and Eve fell, and this was one of the nudges the devil gave them to help them crash. But true worship of the Lord, true following him, always includes our willing submission to the fact that the Lord is holy and his ways are perfect.