There's a Snake In The Garden
The opening verse of chapter 3 begins with the word “Now” and it indicates the previous story (the act of creation) is over and a new story (the story of humanity and their relationship with God) is beginning. We are not sure of the length of time between the end of chapter two and the beginning of chapter three, it is undisclosed. I often feel chapter three is an outrageous chapter as it deals with a talking snake, forbidden fruit, deception, blame and judgment. However it is an essential chapter for because it helps us better understand God’s mercy, love, forgiveness and His perfect plan of redemption.
Verse 1: The serpent: We are introduced to the serpent in the first verse of this chapter. This serpent is described as more “crafty (shrewd, clever or cunning) than any other beast…” Most of us have probably heard this story many times and I think it is safe to assume the snake is Satan. How can we know for sure? It has been said that the Bible is the best commentary of the Bible. We read in Revelation 20:2, 3, “And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.” Some have suggested that Satan disguises himself as a snake, and others have proposed that the snake had a Satanic presence behind him (he took possession of the snake). Regardless we are given insight that the serpent was up to something and that something was no good. Here in the beginning we see two people, a man and a woman, naked in the garden (this symbolized their innocence and purity) who have no understanding of sin and disobedience until the snake appears. The serpent is sneaky, crafty and deceptive (he preys on their gullibility and innocence) and things are about to south.
The snake approaches the woman and strikes up a conversation with her. Let me pause for a moment. This is where the story gets a little weird. I am not a snake person. I never have been and never will be. If you want to see this grown man scream like a little girl then put me in a closed quarters with a snake… Any snake… I. DO. NOT. LIKE. SNAKES. So if this conversation would have never happened with me because I would have turned and bolted out of the garden quicker than you can say, “hiss”... I digress.
The snake begins by questioning God. “Did God ACTUALLY say that you shouldn’t eat of the trees of the garden?” He questions God’s authority causing the woman doubt. We can learn from this encounter. Doubt is one of Satan’s most powerful tools. He still uses this tactic quite regularly today. He plants seeds of doubt by suggesting God doesn’t really care for you. He may say things to cause you to doubt like, “If God loved you then he wouldn’t be letting you go through this difficult time of life”. “If God created this thing then he obviously wants you to indulge in it.” Or he may be more extreme by saying to you, “You’re waaaay beyond saving. With all the things you have done God could never forgive you.” Or “You don’t need other Christians in your life; you can do this on your own.” If Satan is good at anything he is good at causing doubt.
Verses 2, 3: The woman enters into a debate with Satan and this is the first mistake she makes. Arguing with Satan is always a slippery slope. She does not see the harm in talking with the serpent. Why should she? She is innocent and the serpent is crafty but she feels she needs to defend her position. She begins to rationalize God and even adds to his command by saying that they couldn’t even touch the fruit (which God did not say). Debating with the devil is never a good thing. Even Jesus himself rebuked Satan by responding with the Word of God and he did not enter into a debate with him.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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