You Have An Enemy

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

{Genesis 3:6 esv}

I am not an ordained Minister, nor am I an accredited Pastor, Priest or elder statesman of any congregation. I view myself, quite simply, as a “believer”.

I feel it is important to clarify these things before talking about Scripture. I strongly believe that the enemy uses misinformation, doubt and confusion like an expert marksman skillfully hunting his prey. In my experience, navigating The Word (the Bible) can be unnerving. When you look at The Word as a literal and historical Truth, reading it alone – with an untrained eye – can easily become a daunting task.

The Bible says to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” {1 Peter 5:8 esv}. “Sober-minded” is key here. So is being “watchful”. Yes, here God is directly telling us to not be drunk or high so we can be “watchful”. Yet, He is also telling us to not be drunk on anger, intoxicated with pride and to not find pleasure with tearing ourselves down as we reflect over the landscape of our lives – among other things. God wants us to learn how to view ourselves only as He sees us. Then, it is equally important to speak those things over ourselves – until His Truth becomes our Truth. That Truth, and knowing it, becomes evident in later Scripture. Yet, for now, let’s stay focused on our beginning. So, from the beginning, it is of the utmost importance to know exactly what He says about who you are, who the enemy is and, ultimately, who He is.

In our life, Meldie and I call this “adversary”: the enemy. We are mindful not to give him authority, yet we are watchful for him. He seems to creep into our thoughts, attacking our beliefs, like an invisible gas patiently lurking in the atmosphere. Although, sometimes he takes a form.

The enemy has done this since the beginning of our history, or more aptly named: His (meaning God’s) Story. In the book of Genesis, God offered all of His Creation to be under man’s dominion, or control. His creation was His gift to us. In {Genesis 1:26}, it is written: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Think about that for a moment. He purposely creates something that He says was “good” {Gen. 1:21} – then – He lovingly hands over that creation to us. Take a few moments; I’ll wait for you to catch up.

Good, welcome back.

Soon thereafter, in Scripture, the enemy shows up. Eve (Eve meaning in Hebrew = to give life), God’s gift to Adam (Adam meaning in Hebrew = man), is approached by “the serpent” in the Garden of Eden after God has commanded Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil {Genesis 2:15-17}. Now, there is so much nourishment in this Scripture. Nevertheless, we have to stay focused on the meal at hand, marking the “things” that jump out to us for later, lest we divert down a rabbit trail. Let’s hunt a little farther for this fare.

For this purpose, the feast lies in {Genesis 3:1-5 esv} which states: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say’, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'”

Again, there is a full buffet of nourishment here. Yet, again, let’s stay focused on the sustenance set aside for us in this moment. I’d like to point out how, back in {Gen. 2:15}, God commanded Adam not to eat of the fruit of that tree. The Word makes no mention of commanding Eve, as well. So, for this purpose, let us assume that Adam had clued her in.

Now, I am married to Meldie. She is extremely intelligent and thoroughly pleasant to look at physically. She uses the correct words, at the correct times, and she rarely speaks without thought. She tells me that she loves me, all the time, and she follows those words up with loving actions intended for me and my well being. However, I mishear her sometimes. Sometimes, I hear words and hidden meanings that were never spoken by her. I have learned to gently proclaim my confusion, ask for her explanation, and listen intently to her reply.

Yet, I still muff up “listening”, sometimes. For my personal safety, I believe it is imperative to point out that my wife and I do not speak commands to each other. We do, however, correct each others views of ourselves, and each other, when they don’t align with God’s views. More on that later.

As we can see in {Gen. 3:3}, Eve recalled something that God did not say. He never commanded, “neither shall you touch it”, when referring to the fruit of the forbidden tree. Scripture doesn’t go on to explain this to us; it just is. It’s simply what she recalled. There is no further reference to it. It stands, buried in the conversation between Eve and the serpent.

This statement just happens to be a golden nugget of information. She didn’t know, firsthand and for herself, what God had said. You see, God had regularly showed up in the Garden to “walk with” Adam and Eve. We know this by their reaction to Him after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. In {Genesis 3:8}, we know: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden”. We further learn why they had hidden themselves. It wasn’t because His presence made them afraid. Nor was it because they didn’t know Who was walking in the Garden. Instead, the Truth was that they knew God, intimately. They also knew that He would show up. He always did. Instead, they hid because of their shame (being naked).

In the next two verses {Gen. 3:9-10 esv}, we see evidence of their knowlgege: “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” You see, if we go all the way back to when God said eating the fruit would surely mean “death” {Gen. 2:17 esv}, He was speaking of a spiritual death – or – separation from Him.

This principle, is the cornerstone of a life built upon Him. Our death, or sin, is a separation from the God who created us. We were created purposely to walk with Him. Whenever we produce a thought of ourselves, we are to use our discernment and hold God’s authoritative question directly up to it. God’s authority is displayed in the very next verse:

{Genesis 3:11 esv} “He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'”

We can never fully understand God {Job 38:31-36}, {Isaiah 40:28}, {Psalm 147:5}. How can I understand the way a human body was formed, how the stars exist or how The Word has survived from man’s beginning? Who am I to create, from my imagination, a new God – with new commandments – that applies to my current wants and desires. No, God is God and He alone created me, and you, along with the earth and everything that lives on it. So, you know, we should probably get busy finding out who He is and how He sees us. After all, He wants to walk, in the coolness of the day, with me (and YOU).

My friend, God offers to us a clear view of how He sees us. It is written, by Him using human hands, all over The Word. Let me offer some helpful tools to begin (or refresh) your walk with Him. Meanwhile, please know that He is FOR you; He is NOT against you. When the enemy tells you you’re useless, you’re ugly, you’re fat, you aren’t good enough, you will always be alone, etc. ad nauseam, hold that thought against what God says about you.

Wouldn’t God say: “Who told you that you were…” followed by “Who do I say that you are?”.

Then, throw some of God’s Truth at that thought (the enemy) and watch it flee.

In love,

R.L. Gabriel

p.s. Just in case you weren’t aware:

*** YOU are the apple of His eye ***

{Zechariah 2:8 esv} For thus said the Lord of hosts, after His glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye

Some of today’s happenings in our dominion of a backyard:

“Stubby” (notice his tail) being seed greedy

 

Last summer, our dominion was visited by a Downy Woodpecker. We, both Meldie and I, witnessed his arrival and quick departure. Yesterday, after a several month “no show”, I asked God to send him back for a visit. Today, he showed up for this picture.

Published by rrlgabriel

R.L. Gabriel is a US Army Airborne Combat Medic (veteran), former drug addict, father, husband, construction worker and follower of Jesus. He writes with an uncommon honesty while chronicling his past and describing how he walks by faith. His self reflecting memoirs will be published weekly. He lives in the American Midwest with his beautiful wife Meldie. Together, they host and tend to a diverse group of backyard critters while raising an indoor goldfish named Petey.

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