He Loves Me!
This devotional is a series of excerpts from Wayne Jacobsen's life changing book, He Loves Me! Download a PDF of this book by clicking the link below.
Day 26: He Loved You Enough to Let You Go
God filled Eden with luscious fruit trees of every variety, but in the middle of it planted two special trees. The Tree of Life would impart immortality to any who ate of it. The Tree of Knowledge would open their eyes to see good and evil as God sees it. He told them they were free to eat from every tree except the Tree of Knowledge. Though its fruit would enlighten, it would also kill them.
Wouldn't it have been better if he had never created it, or at least hid it in some distant corner of the globe? Certainly its presence provided the opportunity for mankind's greatest failure and with it thousands of years of suffering in sin, pain, conflict and disease. But God didn't plant that tree to spell our demise but to allow us the freedom that would make relationship with him meaningful.
He knew that which ever way Adam and Eve chose, it would still be the first step on a journey to learn how to trust his awesome love. Regrettably, like the prodigal son, however, they would only learn to trust God by first trusting themselves and finding out just how misguided they were in doing so.
"You could be like God," the serpent promised them that morning as he enticed them to eat what God had forbidden. What a devastating temptation! One could want worse things than to be like God. Didn't God already make them in his image? Wasn't his desire to invite them into a relationship with him that would make them like him? Isn't the desire to be like God the highest ideal of the Christian life?
That such a noble motive could be used for such evil, should be a warning to us. For here sin is clearly unmasked. We often view sin as evil actions alone and miss the nature of sin itself. At its root, sin is simply grabbing for ourselves what God has not given to us. In this realm, our best intentions can draw us into as much bondage as our most indulgent desires.
Adam and Eve's sin was not what they wanted, but how they went about getting it. Would they trust God to make them like him, or would they reach out and take it for themselves?
Is that what Jesus understood when he rejected Satan's enticement to change stones into bread after his long fast? There was certainly nothing evil in the act itself. Nothing in Moses' law forbade it and it wouldn't have been any different than changing water into wine, which he would do a few days later. Jesus, however, trusted his Father to bring to him everything he needed. Fulfilling his own ambitions, wholesome though they may be, would take him down the same path as Adam and Eve.
He knew God's gifts are always two-edged. They can be used for his glory, or abused for our ambitions. Jesus chose the former; Adam and Eve the latter. The tree that stood before them in the Garden was no symbol or loyalty test. Its fruit held real spiritual power. Those who would eat of it would see good and evil the same way God sees it; and that is exactly what happened to Adam and Eve. As soon as their teeth plunged into its fruit their eyes were opened to see good and evil; and the first thing they noticed was how evil they had become. That knowledge overwhelmed them with shame and shattered their relationship with God.