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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Beware: The Snake in the Grass

I was a relatively new believer when I heard an older, wiser woman tell a story I will never forget. She looked somewhat disheartened and bedraggled—the symptomatic side effects of having many mouths to feed and little income with which to do it. Her husband drew little from his job as a laborer.

Many years ago, she said, he had been offered a pastorate in an area she did not like. He believed he should accept the call; she did not.

“My husband,” she said, “listened to me. And our lives have been miserable ever since.” It was the distressing story of Eve all over again.

Eve’s early influence over her husband changed the course of human history. After Adam and Eve fell headlong into sin, God cursed the serpent, the man, and the woman. To the woman he meted out pain in childbirth and placed her under the headship of the man: “and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). That one curse may have created more havoc between the sexes than all the others combined. It established a biblical principle that militant feminists strive to destroy and one that God-fearing women strive with difficulty to obey. And no one knows the magnitude of that struggle better or exploits it more effectively than Satan.

Of all the women who have ever lived, Eve was unique. She was not born but fashioned by God from one of Adam’s ribs on the sixth day of creation (Gen. 2:18–25.) She had no childhood, no adolescence, no parents, and no friends. Eve had Adam.

She had no name, in fact, until he named her. First he bestowed on her the generic term woman, declaring, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23). Later Adam gave her the name Eve (meaning “lifegiver”) “because she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20).

Created especially for Adam, the human ruler of God’s theocratic Kingdom, Eve was designed to be her husband’s greatest asset—his helper, his lifelong companion, and his source of comfort. He, in turn, held the scepter over all the earth, given to him by God. According to theologian Dr. Renald Showers in his book What on Earth Is God Doing? (Loizeaux Brothers), “God created man, placed him as governor over the earth, and held him responsible to administer the earth well on behalf of God.”

But Adam failed in his responsibility. Amid this idyllic circumstance lurked a snake in the grass. Satan wanted God’s Kingdom for himself. Since he lacks the power to create, the only way he could get the Kingdom was to usurp it. To do that, he had to get to Adam. And he got to Adam by getting to Eve.

Scripture reveals that Satan spoke exclusively to her: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman …” (Gen. 3:1).

Evidently, Satan calculated that Eve was the easier prey, and he manipulated the wife to get to the husband. Eve ate and handed the forbidden fruit to Adam who was “with her” (Gen. 3:6). Adam ate, and mankind has been experiencing the bitter aftertaste ever since: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

Yet if Adam was with her, why did he not stop her? Not only did he fail to exercise his God-given responsibility by obeying the Lord and, thus, protecting his wife, but he ate the fruit as well. Sin immediately took hold and pitted Adam against Eve. When God asked Adam if he had “eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat” (3:11), Adam blamed Eve. Whereas earlier he had called her “bone of my bones,” now he said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (3:12). So Satan wrested control of the Kingdom from Adam and succeeded in dividing the man from the woman. Eve apparently was trusting and naive and believed Satan’s lie. Adam, however, lacked the strength of character to stand for what he knew was right (1 Tim. 2:14).

How many times is this same scenario played out in homes today? Because Eve was formed second and was deceived, God ordained the man to occupy the spiritual position of leadership within the home and the church (1 Tim. 2:11–14).

Yet Satan still slithers like a snake in the grass, trying to create chaos by assailing the God-given order. And his tactics have not changed over the millennia. He is the master of divide and conquer by appealing to either self-indulgence (lust of the flesh), self-fulfillment (lust of the eyes), or self-esteem (pride of life). Eve was the first person he hooked. But mankind has been taking the bait ever since.

If both sexes vie for supremacy, Satan succeeds in creating strife, division, instability, and confusion. As the world continues to degenerate spiritually, godly men and women need more than ever to function within the biblical parameters God has established for them. Wives should submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22); and husbands should assume their responsibility as leaders, heed the Word of God, and stand with integrity for what is right. Then it will be much more difficult for Satan to slither under the door.

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