Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now.
Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-10
The Eternal God placed the newly made man in the garden of Eden in order to work the ground and care for it. He made certain demands of the man regarding life in the garden.
God: Eat freely from any and all trees in the garden; I only require that you abstain from eating the fruit of one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Beware: the day you eat the fruit of this tree, you will certainly die.
Of all the wild creatures the Eternal God had created, the serpent was the craftiest.
Serpent (to the woman): Is it true that God has forbidden you to eat fruits from the trees of the garden?
Eve: No, serpent. God said we are free to eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. We are granted access to any variety and all amounts of fruit with one exception: the fruit from the tree found in the center of the garden. God instructed us not to eat or touch the fruit of that tree or we would die.
Serpent: Die? No, you’ll not die. God is playing games with you. The truth is that God knows the day you eat the fruit from that tree you will awaken something powerful in you and become like Him: possessing knowledge of both good and evil.
The woman approached the tree, eyed its fruit, and coveted its mouth-watering, wisdom-granting beauty. She plucked a fruit from the tree and ate. She then offered the fruit to her husband who was close by, and he ate as well. Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths.
And that is when sin and death entered the world. The enemy is still using seemingly good things to temp us to turn away from the way of Jesus. Small thoughts here and there. Always in the back of our minds with the “but what ifs” and “should I’s”. When death and sin entered the world, it separated us from God. We could no longer rest in His presence the way Adam and Eve did initially. We became vulnerable, left in the wilderness of temptation, trying to find the right way back, with the ever-present gnawing hole in us that we spend our lives trying to fill.
It all sounds pretty bleak and it is. But that’s not where the story ends. But this is where our lamenting and self-reflection and discipline begin. This does not mean we sit and berate ourselves for being such horrible people. It’s our responsibility to humbly acknowledge our participation and choices made in turning away from God while also carrying the hope of forgiveness and grace. It is possible to carry both with you. We are in desperate need of our Savior and also we can rejoice in his gift of grace.
This week we will be reading and looking at the how to guard ourselves from temptation while also learning how to hold both lament and joy.
God of mercy,
your word was the sure defense of Jesus in his time of testing.
Minister to us in the wilderness of our temptation,
that we who have been set free from sin by Christ
may serve you well into life everlasting. Amen
WRITE and DISCUSS