Readings: Genesis 2:15-17 and Genesis 3:1-7
Verse 17: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday. We begin this week’s readings in the garden with God, Adam, and Eve. It is a story of temptation and sin. In verse 17 God says to Adam, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” God has provided an abundant bounty of food for Adam’s physical needs. In verses 18-25 God addresses Adam’s relational needs as God creates Eve. Then, in chapter 3, the serpent plays on Adam and Eve’s weakness, tempting them with knowledge and power – to be like God. Unable to resist, they eat and their eyes are opened. They “realized they were naked.” With the knowledge of good and evil, without clothing became“naked.” Since that moment, humankind has wrestled with sin and temptation, with the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan.
These themes will run throughout our week, in each of the passages. In the same way these themes are intertwined in our day to day lives. Our battles with good and evil can be relatively small – that candy bar in the store quietly makes its way into our pocket or we go for the little extra pour or scoop when we’ve already had enough. Sometimes the battle is “just for fun” – how fast can this car go late at night on this deserted interstate? And other times the battle involves real stakes, real consequences for our lives and for our souls.
Because sin and evil and temptation are real and because the shiny fruit looks really good, we must always be aware of the battle. Often a small step in the wrong direction leads to another step and soon enough we’re plunging headlong into deep and dangerous waters. The only path to true life here and to abundant life eternal lies in the path walked with God. Holy Spirit, guide us to walk as a child of the light.
Prayer: Lord God, the human one within me is strong. The evil one remains crafty and deceitful as ever. Lord, I need you. By the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, help me to resist the temptations. And when I do fall, Lord, draw me back quickly and restore me by your grace. Amen.