A Tale of Two Trees

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Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Mark 14:38

 

Do you ever wonder why Eve took that first bite? What could have caused her to second-guess the God of the universe; her Creator; the One who loved her completely?

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was near the tree of life. Could Eve have been partaking in the harvest of the tree of life when tempted by Satan? Suppose she intended to be obedient, following God’s instructions when the hissing of the serpent caught her off guard. She diverts her attention from the tree of life and begins a conversation with Satan.

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen 3:1a)

Eve’s mind opens to the possibility of doubt as she ponders his question even as she responds matter-of-factly, rattling off God’s command: ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ (v.3b)

Her logical reasoning makes sense to me – forbidden tree + eating = death. I, too, approach life with an A=B=C mentality. It’s straight-forward and for those of us rule-followers, it seems simple enough to accomplish. She definitely didn’t want to die and she had plenty of other trees to eat from. But what she didn’t account for was an unpredictable susceptibility to temptation.

You think, “Why do I need to go shopping for the party?
I have plenty of dresses to choose from.”

Satan is not a rule-following logical thinker. He causes us to question God in any way, shape, or form most destructive to our faith. His main objective is to cast doubt.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (v. 4)

Could he be right?, Eve wonders. God did name it the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Surely, God wouldn’t want me to die.

A little voice in your head reminds you that so-and-so will be at the party. Maybe a new dress wouldn’t be such a bad idea. But the cost…

Eve inspects the fruit growing from the branch on which the serpent is sitting. It looks tasty, edible, and likely to provide wisdom. So she eats some.

You give in to the temptation to shop. After finding the perfect dress, which broke the bank by the way, you attend the party. So-and-so isn’t even there.

We all face temptation on a daily basis. For some, it is hour by hour or minute by minute. We are no different than Eve living in the Garden. Even when our intentions are to honor the Lord, we often get distracted by a voice persuading us to do otherwise.

If I run this red light, I should make it to Sunday school on time…
I really hope that handsome young man is leading the worship this morning…
Lord, please let me get to Bible study so I can tell them what I heard about Sheryl…
I can’t believe she is wearing that dress in church…

As we take our eyes off the Lord’s Tree of Life, our mind begins to justify our sin. We question the goodness of God and believe we know better. Or that we will not suffer consequences. We may regard our thoughts and actions as justified, desirable, or beneficial somehow. And that is exactly what Satan would have us think.

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

God could have placed the trees on the opposite ends of the garden. He could have made the fruit unappealing to the eye. But the appearance of the fruit and the close proximity of the trees symbolizes reality – we will never escape sin’s presence nor it’s allure. Even when we are following God closely. The good news is that even when we choose to eat from the forbidden tree, Christ offers forgiveness. He never removes the opportunity for us to repent and partake from the Tree of Life.

Mark 14:38 reminds us that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is week. We all have two trees from which we obtain nourishment. The harvest of one leads to death and the other to eternal life. Which tree are you eating from?

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my post! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. ~ e. jones

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