Devo Scripture: Genesis 3:1-7
Key Verse: “Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.” Ps. 119:175
The parameters we place on our children are for their benefit. Wouldn’t you agree? Bedtime is 8:30 because we want them to get enough rest. Candy is limited because it’s not healthy and bad for your teeth. No fighting because it’s disrespectful. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Obey or face the appropriate consequences. Our children live day to day by the rules we’ve set not because we want to see them struggle but because we love them.
God gave Adam and Eve only one parameter. They were not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was not a restrictive command. Think about it. They were allowed to eat from every other tree of the garden, even the tree of life. And every tree held abundantly delicious fruit. But God knew what was best so He commanded them not to eat of one very specific tree. If they learned on their own what was good and what was evil there would be much suffering…many mistakes. But if He could teach them. If they relied completely on Him for such knowledge He could protect them every step of the way. God’s word – His command – was for their benefit. Just as His word – His commands – are for our benefit. He is a loving Father who wants the best for his children. And that best is achieved when lived inside the parameters He’s set for us.
But sometimes….sometimes staying within the parameters is a very real struggle. It takes effort, big exhausting effort. God tells Cain in the next chapter of Genesis, “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Gen. 4:7). The struggle with sin is real. But the victory believers have in Christ is just as real. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). If the struggle feels overwhelming today remember that victory is yours in Christ Jesus! So keep at it!
But we are to learn from those who have gone before us. Eve’s dialog with the serpent holds some very valuable lessons. I want to note that Eve’s mistake was not that she dialoged with the serpent (though I do find it fascinating that she does not seem to find it strange that a beast of the field is speaking to her.) Eve’s error was determining that something in direct contradiction to God’s command was in fact “good.” Genesis 3:6 states “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Even though God had told them if they ate of the tree they would die, Eve decided that eating of the tree would actually be good! But our assessment of what is truly good will only be accurate when made within the parameters of God’s word.
Yet sometimes…sometimes we make assessments without a thought to His word. For example “That movie was really good. It only had one sex scene and a little foul language.” Or “This is such a good show (when the LORD’s name is blasphemed multiple times). Or how about, “She is such a good person but she doesn’t believe in Jesus.” Or “Deep down inside he’s really a good guy. He doesn’t mean to hurt me.” Or “It’s a really good opportunity but it means I can’t go to church anymore.” We make determinations of what is good all the time but can anything that stands apart from God and his word be good? The answer is no. And every time we make the determination that something is “good” though it stands in contradiction to the word of truth, we’ll find ourselves deceived and disappointed, just as Eve did.
Psalm 25:8 says, “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.” God is good. Therefore he has instructed us on what is good. He has given us parameters because He loves us. His word, His commands are a blessing. Not only do they reveal our need for Jesus as we daily strive but fail to follow all of them perfectly. But they are a blueprint for how to live the most satisfying life and a pathway to blessing. Psalm 119:2 states “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.” Oh to delight in His commands with every fiber of my being.
“Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” Ps 119:5
“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” Ps. 119:16
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Ps. 119:37
“The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Ps. 119:72
“Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” Ps. 119:73
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Ps. 119:103
“Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.” Ps. 119:129
“I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” Ps. 119:162
“My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.” Ps. 119:167
LORD fill me with an unquenchable passion for your precepts. Help me to determine what is truly good through the lens of your word. I pray my heart would echo that of Psalm 119. And I pray the heart of each and every one of my precious friends would echo the same.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Is the Word of God precious to you? How do you daily use it in your life?
Do you view God’s commands as a blessing or a drawback to a life well lived?