Yesterday, we talked about the focus on what we can’t do rather than on the abundance of what we can. We were looking at what God said to Adam.
Somewhere between the command to eat anything but one, and the conversation with the serpent, the message changed a bit.
By the time Eve spoke, with Adam standing near, perhaps, the description of God’s command about one tree had changed to the tree in the middle of the garden. The tree had become the center of the focus of the humans. And the command had grown from “don’t eat” to “don’t even touch.”
And the serpent faced with an enhanced focus on the DO NOT, began to address the WHY NOT.
- God’s trying to protect himself, not protect you.
- God’s trying to limit you from your full potential.
- God’s confused about what the purpose of being human is.
So try it, the serpent said.
And they did.
Often, when we make limits that go beyond the limits God gives, we foster rebellion. Often, when we make false promises for God, we foster disappointment.
When we say, working beyond what God said, “Following God means wearing this, not that. Following God means eating this, not that. Following God means saying this, not that,” we are flirting with disaster.
And fall into that disaster when we then say, “If you wear this and eat this and say this, you will have a wonderful life and nothing will go wrong. But if you wear that and eat that and say that, God will make your life miserable.”
If we can’t live up to the expectations, we are miserable.
If we have misery, it must be God’s fault.
And if we do touch something (that is a restriction beyond God’s restriction) and we don’t die, we have undermined the trustworthiness of God’s words
Reflecting on the readings from the first Sunday in Lent: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19, and Matthew 4:1-11.