“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. ‘I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.’ ” – John 10:10-11 NLT
Have you ever played the game Telephone – aka Chinese Whispers, Broken Telephone, and Silent Mail? You sit in a circle, and whisper a phrase to your neighbor, and on it goes around the circle. A simple phrase such as “I gave my brother and ride to work” could morph into “I saw my mother ride a stork!” (Thanks to ask.metafilter.com for all of the information.) Even when it is just from one person to another, we can’t get it right. Look at Eve when she’s speaking to the serpent in the Garden….
“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5 NLT
But what did God really say?
“But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.’ ” – Genesis 2:16-17 NLT
God told Adam not to eat the fruit…. He never said to Adam not to touch it. Until we have a chance to ask them, we can’t know whether Adam told Eve just to not eat the fruit, or if he told her not to touch it. As humans, we tend to embellish and make the tiniest changes when repeating what we’ve been told. I don’t think it’s so much deliberate as it is that we don’t fully listen, and we want to puff ourselves up…. even without conscious thought. The serpent played the devil’s advocate, and tempted Eve with something beautiful, and she and Adam chose to believe him. As John points out in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10 NLT
Satan, personified in the serpent, set out to steal Adam and Eve from the LORD, and He succeeded in getting them – and us – rejected from the Garden. We need to be hyper-aware of his subtle tricks to lure us away from God. Even that temptation to sleep in on Sunday mornings, or watching a slightly questionable television show. I was having a conversation with a Korean a few days ago, and she was telling me some of the differences between Korean and American television. They don’t show the blatant soft porn and sexual inuendo that is in so many shows here; even passionate kisses are left out of the shows. We are supposed to be the Christian nation, yet we tolerate and even support so much that we know is wrong. What does that say about us?
We know that the enemy is working hard to destroy any semblance of Christ in the world. Instead of succumbing to his mind-numbing games, maybe we should be listening with more intent to the quiet voice of the LORD speaking to us as He tells us so many good things. He will tell us something good, if we just listen. Prayerfully and thankfully go to God, and pay attention to those whispers!
Photograph by Mark Campbell at Carmel by the Sea City, arrangement by God. Thank you for sharing His beauty with us, Mark! All scriptures are from http://bible.com.NLT