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The First Sin

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“ 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So 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. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:1-21, NRSV)

Why were Adam and Eve removed from the garden?

Was it because they sinned?

Or was it another reason. You see when God created Adam and Eve God created them in the image of God. So they are like God in every way. Except…

What tree did God tell them not to eat from in the creation story from yesterday and how many special trees were there?

There were 2 special trees and God said not to eat from one of them, which one. The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. But what was the other tree?

That is in the verses just after our reading,

22Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

The other tree was the Tree of Life which gives eternal life and God didn’t say to eat from that tree, but since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they had to be removed from the garden so they would not become exactly like God. We were removed from the garden so we couldn’t be like God, not because of sin. we could have lived in the garden forever if we hadn’t known good and evil, which is better?

 

 

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A Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

1Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers; protect me from those who are violent,
2who plan evil things in their minds and stir up wars continually.
3They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s, and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah
4Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent who have planned my downfall.
5The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net, along the road they have set snares for me. Selah
6I say to the Lord, “You are my God; give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”
7Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot. Selah
(Psalm 140:1-8, NRSV)

Under their lips is the venom of vipers! They spit out evils from their very beings to continue wars. You alone o, God can protect me from their evil.

Only God can keep us safe from the evils of the world around us.

God alone hears us when we cry and answers our prayers.

Cry out to God and know that God will deliver you from all the evils that surround you!

 

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Overcome Evil with Good

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21, NRSV)

Do not seek revenge, and do not repay evil with evil. Instead, feed your hungry enemies and if they are thirsty give them something to drink, be kind to them for in doing this you will confuse them and they will not know what to do.

Revenge belongs to God and God’s wrath is worse than anything you could come up with, so love everyone, weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are joyful.

Overcome evil with good.

Be good to everyone, and let God take care of the rest.

 

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Teaching on Loving Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48, NRSV)

It is easy to love those who love you and to be nice to those who are nice to you. But God makes the sun rise on the good and the evil and send rain on the righteous and unrighteous so we are all in this together. So as followers of Christ we need to rise above the rest and show love to all.

And as Martin Luther King, Jr. says, “Love is the only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend.”

So love them as Christ loves you!

 

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The Inescapable God

O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—

those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil!

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

(Psalm 139:19-24, NRSV)

Lord, you know me inside and out and have formed me to be your child.

Purge all wickedness and evil from my life and lead me in the way you have for me.

Lead me in the way everlasting.

Help me to follow you.

 

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honestly

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:25-32, NRSV)

Always speak the truth.

Can you imagine if we were all honest with everyone all of the time?

We could say when we were angry and we could talk it out.

We would not take things that weren’t ours.

We would not have evil things in our thoughts and coming from our mouths.

We would all be tenderhearted and kind to one another. The world would be a better place.

And it has to start somewhere. I am willing to try, are you?

 

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an understanding mind

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. (1 Kings 3:5-12, NRSV)

What would you ask for if God visited you and said to you, “Ask what I should give you.”

Solomon asked for an understanding mind to govern the people to be able to discern good and evil. Is that what you would ask for?

If more of us had an understanding mind, imagine how the world would be different…

 

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