The Obedience of Faith
„The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."”
This is where all the trouble began (they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Adam and Eve were no longer entirely dependent on God from that point, but became lords of themselves. Before the Fall, they followed God’s instructions, so they believed in God (we can call this full trust). We have talked a lot about faith, that it is actually following God in obedience, which is only possible with trust in God.
„By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Abraham trusted in God, and we can see that in his deeds. Personally, I also like to use sat nav for the nearby road. We can see how much Abraham trusted in God that he set out at God’s call without a destination. It is part of our human nature that we love to know things in advance, we love to prepare, but even if we treat God in this way, we do not believe or trust Him. Abraham did not ask God for the entire plan, but stepped in to do God’s will. This is how he became a friend of God because he believed in God, so it is worth learning his attitude toward God.
Noah also built the ark for years without seeing any sign of the flood. God told him there would be a flood, Noah believed this to God, and with years of hard work he proved his faith. According to apocryphal writings (the book of Jasher), it took Noah 5 years to build the ark, but the flood did not come right after that. Noah's test came only after that. Noah preached to the people for 120 years that God would send a flood of earth and wipe out all life from the land. Think about it, 5 years is no short time while you are constantly making an ark (there was no small ark). Then continue to preach for another 120 years what people have never seen and heard? They did not repent of their evil way of life (Noah had no good fruitful service, he was a fragrance from death to death as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:16). Presumably this is why God said:
„Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years."”
The heroes of faith (I mentioned Abraham and Noah as examples) showed their faith in their actions, trusting in God that God would fulfill His promises at the right time. You can read more about the heroes of faith in the Hebrews chapter 11 if you want to read more examples.
„And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?"”
They recognized the voice of God, suggesting that it was customary for God to go to Eden. It was God who taught them, so He told them what was good and evil.
By eating the forbidden fruit, the couple actually confessed that they did not want to know from God what was good and evil. They want to know this independently of God and then choose between them. So by eating the forbidden fruit, they expressed their distrust of God. They wanted to be independent of God.
Christians do this every day because most people only like to obey God in what they understand is good for them. But where is the faith in this? After all, if we have seen or understood something, we no longer have to believe it.
„Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
We are not convinced because we have seen it, but because we believe in the word of God. The couple did not believe in the word of God (that they would die if they eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), but rather believed the serpent:
„Now 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'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but 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.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."”
Yet they died. Death does not mean annihilation, but separation, that is, the end of something. Their close good relationship with God ended that day, and later their physical life ended.
It is our human nature to love to understand things. But walking with God, we can't do that. For God expects us to have full trust in Him.
„And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Parents expect trust from their children. Especially when the child is young, it is not possible for the child to understand everything what we are asking for. And when children are older, they expect us to explain our requests to them. However, parents do not always like this, as they expect trust and obedience from their children. If this is important between the parent and the child, how much more between God and His creatures? For the wisdom of God is greater than the wisdom of man. As much as the wisdom of man is greater than the wisdom of the grass.
Therefore, we do not need to understand why God has given certain commandments, but we simply need to keep what God has given us in commandments.
Let us not repeat the sin of Adam and Eve by saying what is good and evil without the commandments of God.
(April 9, 2022)