devos from the hill


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Shame and Blame – The Fruit of Sin

The victim mentality – a vicious cycle.
Lesson 19 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

Before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit – And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

– Genesis 2:25

After – Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?” Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

– Genesis 3:7–13

Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed. Something terrible had happened. Something had changed … Adam and Eve tried to hide from God, and to get rid of their shame by covering themselves with leaves. But this did not work, for their problem was not outward, but inward. Shame is the result of sin, and sin was at work in them like a poison.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

Before eating the forbidden fruit, there is no indication that Adam and Eve had ever known shame1  (Genesis 2:25). After they disobeyed God, they saw their nakedness and for the first time felt exposed and vulnerable. So they tried to cover themselves. Then they tried to hide themselves from God. Why? Because they were afraid. They may have been afraid of God’s response, but they were actually hiding themselves from the only One who could really help them, the very One they needed the most.

It is very interesting that God would ask, “Where are you?” God is all knowing. He knew where Adam and Eve were hiding. But His question was not just rhetorical. He was bringing Adam and Eve face to face with the result of their sin. The question “Where are you?” takes on a much greater meaning if applied to their spiritual condition more than their physical location. They were at a desperate place, and God’s question was like holding up a mirror. They needed to recognize the seriousness of their situation.

Notice what happens next, when they are “found.” Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames Satan. Shame was one of the first fruits of sin, and blame was a direct result.

ASK & REFLECT Continue reading


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Sin – What Exactly Is It?

The deadly spiritual disease that infected all humankind.
Lesson 18 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

…just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…

– Romans 5:12

Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed. Something terrible had happened. Something had changed. The evil in Satan was like an infectious disease. And through Adam’s disobedience, this disease was released into the world. It is called sin. It is a power that works within a person to destroy his or her relationship with God, ultimately bringing death to all it touches. Adam and Eve had been created to live forever in perfect harmony with God. By eating the fruit, they acted independently from God, which is exactly what Satan had done. Now they would experience death, first spiritually, then physically. And through Adam, sin would be passed down from generation to generation, infecting all humankind to this very day.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

The word sin appears over 350 times in the Bible. It is most often used to identify an act against God (often referred to in the Bible as a transgression). One of the definitions of sin is literally, “missing the mark.”With this in mind, we could say that the “mark” is God’s way, and when we miss it, we are sinning.

Sin is also used in the Bible to describe the power that influences people to rebel against God’s authority. It is not only an act or an action against God; it is a personified power that influences us to act against God (seeGenesis 4:7 and Romans 6:12-13). Through Adam, this deadly power spread to the whole human race.

You can see why The HOPE describes sin as being like an infectious disease.It can’t be diagnosed with medical technology because it is not a physical disease. It’s a spiritual disease, and it always brings death. And only God has the cure.

ASK & REFLECT

Many people have the idea that all we must do to be right with God is be good. And a popular notion exists that anyone who manages to do more good than bad in life will go to heaven. The problem is that even if one lives a perfect life (which none of us can–Romans 3:23), that person would still be infected with sin, which is enough to keep us from having a right relationship with God. You see, it’s not only our “sins” that drive a wedge between us and God; it’s our “sin.” And just as we looked at Satan in Lesson 17 and determined that we are no match for him on our own, so also we cannot master sin without the power of God working in us.

  •  Are there things in your life with which you struggle, perhaps even habitually?
  •  Are there urges and desires in your life that you cannot eradicate, no matter how hard you try?
  •  Having honestly answered these questions, do you find it difficult to believe that there is a power at work within you called sin? Continue reading


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A Deadly Line of Thought

The first question is not is He good, but rather is He God?
Lesson 17 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said,’ You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’ And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

– Genesis 3:1–5

And so it was one day as Eve was walking in the garden near the tree of knowledge that Satan spoke to her. She was without fear, for fear had not yet come into the world. Satan asked her about the forbidden fruit. He questioned God’s warning and His motive toward man. Eve listened and began to doubt God. She considered the fruit and ate. Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

The current lesson continues our study of Satan’s interaction with Eve at the tree of knowledge. Let’s think about Satan’s tactic with Eve as recorded in the Bible passage above.

Eve told Satan what God said about the forbidden tree, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.” Satan responded, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”1

At first, it appears that Satan is simply contradicting God, or at least trying to re–interpret what God has said. He seems to be trying to get Eve to question whether she really heard what she thought she heard. Instigating doubt and confusion is certainly one of Satan’s primary tactics.

But if you dig more deeply, there appears to be even more to Satan’s strategy. In his line, “You surely shall not die!” you can almost hear him saying to Eve, “Oh come now. God wouldn’t do that to you …would He?” Satan is leading Eve to question God’s intentions toward her. Then he follows up with, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This sounds like Satan is hinting that perhaps God doesn’t really want Eve to become all she can be, which would then cause her to wonder, “Does God really want what is best for me?”

At the core of this line of thinking there lurks a very dangerous question: “Is God really good?” People throughout time have stumbled over this very question. When Eve begins to ask it, slam…the trap is shut. Doubting that God is for her, she will now begin to look after her own interests.

Continue reading


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The Beautiful Side of Evil

A primary strategy of Satan: the perversion of good.
Lesson 16 from The HOPE Study Guide

Introduction

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said,’ You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’ And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

– Genesis 3:1–5

And so it was one day as Eve was walking in the garden near the tree of knowledge that Satan spoke to her. She was without fear, for fear had not yet come into the world. Satan asked her about the forbidden fruit. He questioned God’s warning and His motive toward man. Eve listened and began to doubt God. She considered the fruit and ate. Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

Observe & Consider

The section of The HOPE we are now considering is described in greater detail in Genesis 3. Notice from the Bible passage above that Satan appeared to Eve and spoke to her as a serpent. Yet Eve, unlike you or I might be, was not frightened by this serpent. Let’s consider why that might have been.

First, up to this point in God’s story we see no indication that fear even exists in the world God has created. The first recorded manifestation of fear is in Genesis 3:10, after Adam had disobeyed God. And from Genesis 9:2 we might conclude that up until that time, animals did not fear man (or at least their fear of man was minimal). Imagine the mindset of Eve at this time, never having encountered anything in the world that would evoke fear in her!

Secondly, let’s consider the way in which Satan presents himself. The word that is translated as serpent in the Genesis passage comes from the Hebrew word nachash1, which literally means, “shining one.” Ezekiel 28:12-18 describes Satan as an exceptionally beautiful creature. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” From these verses it is evident that evil does not always appear to be evil. Continue reading