It was the first lie, the Great Lie.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Satan quickly twists the words of God. A command given for their protection concerning just one tree, becomes a prohibition against all the fruit of the garden!
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
The serpent insinuates that God might not be working for the good of his people. That perhaps he is holding out on them? This is the moment when Eve should fight back. She knows the good character of the God who has created them and provided for them abundantly, but she too adds to God’s words, beginning to doubt God’s motivations for his command.
Satan goes in for the kill.
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 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.
You know the rest of the story, how tragic and terrible a fall from perfect and loving relationship with God, as Eve mentally charges God with wrongdoing, keeping his creation from knowledge and wisdom! And so she takes the fruit.
Satan has been lying ever since.
He particularly loves to defame the character of God. He loves to make us think that God is withholding good things from us, things that we would enjoy, even things that we need. He attacks God’s good commands, whispering that God’s motivations are not of loving wise protection, but jealous restriction, or ignorance, or spite. He doesn’t mind what he accuses God of, as long as we will believe it!
It’s the lie that Satan continues to whisper.
To the single guy or girl who doubts that God will ever answer their prayers for a godly partner, beginning to reason that God has unkind or even malicious reasons for withholding this.
Or to the couple who are waiting and hoping to get pregnant, and begin to wonder if God is unaffected by their pain and disappointment.
To the student whose dreams seem to drift further away with every failed assignment, hearing him whisper “God doesn’t want you to be happy, you’re not special enough for him to bother with”
Or the elderly couple who after years of faithful service receive a crushing diagnosis from the Doctor. And Satan is right there while they’re still reeling, whispering “After all you’ve done for him, this is how he repays you?”
Brothers and sisters, please recognise these lies for what they are!
Gaze again upon the cross of Christ, where he died willingly in our place, with all our guilt, rebellion, and brokenness on his shoulders, facing the wrath of God. To restore our relationship with the Father, that once more we might call him Dad and enjoy all the joy and abundance of relationship with him, as he showers us with grace and loving kindness!
This is the lie that the cross of Christ stands eternally to disprove!
1 John 3:16 tells us: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
Romans 8: 31-39 – A passage I’ve quoted here before reasons that: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? And in v.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God does not withhold any good thing from his children. Repeat this to yourself when you are tempted to doubt it in the face of discouragement, disappointment, and pain.
Look again to the cross of Christ that shouts the truth for all to hear.
We see Satan’s game play here in the garden. Shouldn’t it warn us? “Forewarned is forearmed” and all that? We cannot afford to be complacent about Satan and his lies. He will always seek to defame God, his goodness and steadfast love towards us so that we will turn from him. Are you going to let him?