I needed an editor. I hired one. She reads over my writings and then corrects my punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors. Once I apply all her suggestions and corrections, my material is polished and more suitable for your reading pleasure. God, on the other hand, does not need an editor. His writings are perfect as is. Unfortunately, Eve and the serpent, did not get the memo.
Their inner-editor surfaced in Genesis Chapters 2 and 3.
Here is what God said to Adam: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)
Now, check out Eve’s account of what God said: “. . . God did say, ‘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.’” (Genesis 3:3)
Just as interesting is the serpent’s response to Eve: “You will not certainly die . . .” (Genesis 3:4)
Did you see that?!
They both took a red pen to God’s Word and went to work!
We too have some editing tendencies. The interesting thing is, we, like Eve and the serpent, tend to edit in such a way that God seems really mean and restrictive and the devil seems so nice and enlightening. Notice Eve didn’t emphasize the “you are free . . .” statement from God nor did the serpent emphasize the “you will certainly die” part of what God said. She instead exaggerated the restrictions while Satan minimized the consequences.
You may wonder why God would place a tree in the garden and then tell Adam and Eve not to eat from it. Or perhaps, on a more personal level, you’ve wondered why God would place that man in your pathway and hormones in your body then tell you not to sleep with him; or why He allowed you to be “approved” for that credit card then tell you not to use it; or how about that piece of chocolate delight He cautions will raise your blood sugar or that number on the scale.
Why does God allow things we are better off without to even exist?
Here it is: God is after our obedience, but He gives us the freedom to choose. Otherwise, we would be prisoners, and our obedience would be hollow. God’s decision to create the two trees in the garden, along with his decision to create flattering men, low-interest rates, and milk chocolate provided, by nature, an exercise in choice. With this exercise comes rewards for choosing obedience and consequences for choosing to disobey.
As we apply His will, as is, our lives are polished by His grace and made more suitable for our living pleasure.
The next time you are faced with a choice, fire your inner-editor and choose to obey by processing what God actually said, highlighting His promises, and trusting in His goodness.
“. . . our God’s Word stands firm and forever.”
Isaiah 40:8b MSG