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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, "ou shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’"—Genesis 3:1 (NKJV)
Everything changes here! Genesis 3 is the horrible pivot-point in the story. Nothing was wrong . . . until we get to the passage above when along came a spider . . . or a serpent.
Here, we see Satan step into the story in the form of a serpent and pose a simple question to Eve: “Has God really said you can’t eat everything in this garden?” On the surface, this may seem like an innocent, if slightly misleadingly worded question, but it’s really an assertion. What is the assertion? “God is holding out on you!”
Satan is essentially challenging God’s good character to the woman, who makes a fatal mistake: “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’” (Genesis 3:2–3 NKJV).
First, the woman should have never directly engaged Satan in dialog. God’s people are never to go one-on-one with the enemy, but to stand behind His authority in such confrontations. Even Michael the Archangel told Satan, “the Lord rebuke you” (Jude 1:9)!
The other mistake the woman makes is that she adds to what God actually said. It’s clear that the manner in which Satan asked his question had clearly impacted her thought process—as temptation often does. God did say they weren’t to eat the fruit of the tree in question, but He never said they couldn’t touch it. It might seem like an incidental detail, but the principle of adding to God’s Word is the foundation of spiritual error. When God’s Word is altered, when we add to it or put our own spin on it, damage always follows, as it does here: “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die’” (Genesis 3:4 NKJV).
Satan pounces at this point. God clearly and unmistakably said that the man and woman would die once they ate the fruit (Genesis 2:17). But Satan says the opposite. He blatantly tells the woman they won’t die.
While the woman made the initial mistake of adding to the Word of God, Satan now counters by subtracting from it, stripping it of its authoritative truth. This addition and subtraction will prove the perfect storm for sin.
How differently things would have been if the woman hadn’t engaged the enemy, or if she had done like Jesus in Luke 4 and simply stood on what God had actually said? There’s a lesson in this for all of us. We need to know what God says and simply stick to it. Guard against the temptation to add to it and beware of anything that would subtract from it!
DIG: Why is Genesis 3 so pivotal?
DISCOVER: What was Satan’s tactic on attacking the woman? What lesson should you take from this?
DO: Ask the Spirit to give you clarity and sound mind as you encounter attacks and temptation. Pray for the truth of His Word and promises to be accurately recalled in your heart and mind, that the deceptive words of temptation would not distort how you perceive God’s truth.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.