In the movies, the villain often approaches with ominous music. In Genesis 3, the snake arrived with no fanfare at all. No explanation is given for his entrance. He was a “wild animal” whose presence was seemingly expected, and Eve did not seem alarmed in the least.
But this serpent was “crafty” (v. 1). This Hebrew word can have a positive or negative connotation. In the book of Proverbs, it is considered an antidote for naiveté. Clearly, though, a negative connotation is intended here, as the serpent immediately began to dismantle God’s creative order. The serpent asked Eve to articulate God’s command in her own words.
But when she explained God’s command, she deviated from His actual instruction. She added to God’s restrictions (“…and you must not touch it…” v. 3). Then, she distorted the consequence (“…or you will die”). God’s actual statement was “you will surely die,” and the serpent would capitalize on this difference. The serpent told Eve, “You will not surely die.” Notice that he did not deny the penalty. Rather, he made it less imminent. He continued to cast doubt by focusing on the perceived positive outcome (v. 5). God knew that the tree was a good pursuit. Why would He withhold His best?
Eve looked at the tree with new eyes. She saw the fruit as beautiful and beneficial, and so she ate. She shared some with Adam, and he ate— without question. Immediately, their eyes were opened (v. 7). They received the knowledge they were seeking, but it was not a pleasant understanding. Instead, they were filled with shame. Their nakedness, which they previously experienced in innocence, now drove them to cover up.
>> Has the tempter used similar tactics on you? Maybe he suggested: “The consequences won’t be as bad as God says they will be. This behavior leads to something good! He’s holding out on you.” How have you hidden in response to shame? Built walls of anger? Put up a facade of perfection? Run from God?
Dear God, all things outside of you are trustworthy only to the extent that they derive from you. We ask that you strengthen our confidence in your promises so we won’t be led astray.