1Now 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’?” 2And the 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 midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
God did not tell Adam and Eve, at least not that was recorded for us, that they could not touch the tree. The only prohibition was eating the fruit. Theologians and scholars have differed regarding the significance of this. Was Eve complaining that God was being too restrictive? Was she already starting to buy the serpent’s lie that God was hiding something valuable from their experience as human beings? Perhaps. It is a revealing thought for Christians thousands of years later.
When God says “no” to us, how like Eve we can be. We see all the negatives and none of the love. We multiply and exaggerate the ramifications and hardships that God’s cruel standards have caused us to endure. We start seeing nothing of the great number of good things that God daily lavishes on us, but instead see only the hardships caused by the one restriction. This is evidence of our undying self centeredness, rebellion and depraved desire to be the masters of our own fates.
We see this constantly in the responses of lost people to the exclusive claims of Christ. “How dare He say that He is the only way to God!”
How in need of grace we are at all times. We turn loving restrictions into accusations that God is being cruel or too restrictive. We are like a child who does not know the consequences of an action that his parents have put on him. So, he goes ahead and disobeys and then suffers the awful consequences while shouting that he didn’t know they would happen.
God is not required to tell us why some things are forbidden while others are required. We, however, are required to trust Him as the One who knows better than we do and know that it is always better to obey than go our own way.
If you really believe God loves you, you will not rebel against His loving commands. Today, when tempted to do wrong, remember that God’s way is always best – for you, for His glory, for the witness of the Truth.