OT: Gen. 3:2-4:26
I don't think I have every more clearly identified with Eve than I did in this reading. When the Satan lures Eve with a lie ("Did God really say..."), she immediately rattles off the correct answer. But then, he feeds her a half-truth, that if she eats the fruit, "your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." She latches on to that half-truth, and for reasons to which I can relate. Scripture says that when she saw that the fruit was "desirable for gaining wisdom," she took it ate it. On its surface, that honestly doesn't seem bad. Who wouldn't want to gain wisdom? But underneath is the pride and rebellion that I know lurks in my own heart, as well.
I try to picture what Adam and Eve's life would look like without the knowledge of good and evil. The only word that really comes to mind is "free." Adam and Eve were free to do almost anything they wished. There was no shame, no judgment, no self-doubt. They relied on God for all knowledge and understanding, and they did not take that role for themselves. Thus, there were no rationalizations, no negotiating right and wrong, no blame, no guilt. Eve's choice was a step toward prideful self-reliance. It was a step toward trying to figure things out herself without relying on and trusting God's wisdom.
There is a reason why my favorite verse in the Bible is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." (Prov. 3:5). So often I am tempted to follow my own thoughts and reasoning, rather than simply trust in God. If I can't understand something--why God lets something happen, for example--my mind often recoils from the idea of simply having faith and instead wants an explanation. But the picture in the Garden of an ideal relationship with God is one where man and woman simply trust.
It's also interesting to me that they would have felt shame in being naked. They were kind of married, after all, and all alone in the garden. I don't know that nakedness in and of itself is inherently sinful. Maybe that shows how sin distorts our perceptions of things that are meant to be good. Or maybe their nakedness somehow represented their inadequacy, their weakness, in the face of God (to take a metaphorical approach).
Wow, I have so many other thoughts, especially on God's curse and what it means. But this is going way long. So instead, I'll ask you: what do you think about God's curses on man and woman? Why do you think He chose those particular ones?
And I haven't touched Cain and Abel. I've always wondered, for example, where did all the other people come from--the ones whom Cain fears? Did God create more people after He created Adam and Eve?
A few more random thoughts: 1. I love Eve's statement in 4:1 ("with the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man.") Talk about your new experiences! 2. I mulled for awhile over the relationship between God and man and sin after reading 4:7 (God's pre-Christ, pre-Holy Spirit statement, "sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.") We all know how that turned out. 3. I thought Lamech was pretty presumptuous in 4:24. 4. And I mulled over what it meant in 4:26 when it said, "At that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord."
What struck me today were the great pains Matthew takes to root the events of Jesus' life in Old Testament prophecy. I know that Christ did not at all fit the bill of the Messiah for whom the Jews were waiting. Their interpretation of the prophecies led them to picture someone totally different, much more of a physical warrior and king. Jesus himself had to explain to his disciples how He had fulfilled the prophecies (Luke 24:27--"And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.") The early Jewish Christians were determined to pass that info on, and I'm so glad that they did.
Psalms 2: 1-12
Do you think this psalm is messianic (referring to the Messiah)? Why or why not? (That's what I spent my whole time trying to figure out.)
This ties in well to my feelings on Eve's choice. True wisdom comes from fearing (and following) the Lord. And I love the picture of our parents' teachings as "a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck." I definitely feel that way about my own parents' teachings, and I hope that I can pass a good garland along to my children:).