After studying the book of Exodus, I noticed a connection between the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden to the temptation of the children of Israel in the desert. I also pondered the temptation Jesus experienced in the wilderness. In each instance there is a command given by God and a response by the people involved. These responses are a direct reflection of their relationship to the Father.
Let’s look at the similarities between these events.
In each instance, the evil one initiated conversations to provoke certain actions. His goal in twisting the words of our Holy Heavenly Father, God Almighty, being to deceive, confuse and cause disobedience. Our history is filled with this cunning strategy to divide and conquer us to this very day. The history of the first temptation is found in Genesis. Chapter 1 describes creation as a whole and Chapter 2 details the LORD God forming Adam and Eve. Two people, in a beautiful garden, surrounded by an abundance of fresh, totally organic food and the companionship of animals. In the middle of the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life as well as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. A river went out of Eden to water the garden then parted into four rivers. This was no barren wilderness. This was a lush and green Paradise.
"Did God REALLY say you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This is where all our troubles come from, root of mankind’s original sin and fall is documented in Chapter 3. What did God actually say about eating from the trees? We find in Genesis 2:16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.’” This commandment was given before Eve was created from Adam’s rib. So where did Eve get the information she passed on to the serpent?
Eve replies “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said. ‘You shall not eat of it, nor EVEN TOUCH IT, lest you die.’” What?! When did God say that? WHY was she there, looking at the forbidden tree with longing in the first place? It’s not like she needed to eat from that tree because she was hungry! What was Eve thinking, talking to a snake?
Satan tells Eve “You shall not surely die.” That there was a BIG FAT LIE. Right off the bat. Turning and twisting God’s words to make Him appear to be a liar. Word play followed by the blame game. Sound familiar?
Even though direct mortal death was a way off for Adam and Eve, they DID DIE the moment they ate in disobedience. They died to the Source of Life. They lost their Glory given to them at Creation and when their eyes were opened and they realized they had no covering, they were afraid and ashamed. They broke their relationship with the Father and had to be removed from the garden paradise. Life for them became bitter and hard in the east.
Their journey into the barren and empty land reminded me of Moses on Mt Sinai. While he was in fellowship with Yahweh God, receiving the law written on tablets of stone, the people were being deceptively tempted into idolatrous, sinful behavior. Exodus 32 records that death was brought on by these words “make us a god to go before us. As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what happened to him.” So Aaron fashioned a golden calf at their insistence with offerings of profaned golden earrings. They shouted “This is the god that brought us out of Egypt.” They feasted, sang and danced naked while committing sexual perversions. Assigned to things the honor which belongs to God alone.
The first 40 days. Patient obedience was the test, which they horribly failed. Most people did not want this to happen, yet the vocal, forceful minority pushed their evil agenda and pressured Aaron to do this. I never understood WHY Aaron caved in. Recently I learned that he was trying to buy time for Moses to come back. Sounds plausible. Still great evil and death resulted, regardless of his good intentions.
When he did appear, Moses asked at the gate of the camp, “Who is on the LORD’s side?” The sons of Levi went and stood with Moses. These were the agents of God’s wrath. Three thousand men that were destined to die immediately did so. Everybody else had to wait another 40 days for Moses to get God’s replacement tablets.
These are the same folks that were in harsh slavery and delivered. They witnessed the ten plagues and saw the parting of the Red Sea. They experienced the signs and wonders of Yahweh God FIRST HAND but told Moses that they preferred for him to be their intercessor with God. And for their constant grumbling about the good old days in Egypt, they got to wander in the desert for 40 years and never enter the Promised Land. To me it is tragic that they were blinded by their circumstances and unable to enjoy the rest, a Sabbath that was given to them.
The temptation of Jesus is described in Matthew 4. After Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit impelled our Lord to go out into the desert. He spent forty days fasting alone in the wilderness and He became hungry. Satan, the tempter, said “IF you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” See the connection to food. Jesus replied “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” This refers to the verse Deuteronomy 8:3 which relates to the humbling by hunger and the manna provided from Heaven. Next He was taken to the Holy City to stand on top of the Temple. The holiest site in Jerusalem, which is the only place in the world where Yahweh God placed His Name. Satan said, “IF you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over you: and in their hands bear you up, lest at any time you should dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered “Again it is written, do not put the Lord thy God to the test.” This response is in reference to Deuteronomy 6:16. A retelling of the things that happened before the Israelites arrived to Mt. Sinai. In Exodus 17 we learn that the people complained about dying of thirst because there was no water to drink. God helped them by providing water from the rock in Horeb. The name of this place Moses called Massah (Temptation) and Meribah (Strife). I suppose the point to remember here is that they doubted God saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?” Finally, Jesus is taken to a high mountain and shown the glory of the kingdoms of the world. He was told by the same evil voice of the serpent that said “All these I shall give you IF you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” Jesus said “Get away Satan! For it is written ‘You shall worship the LORD, your God and Him alone shall you serve.’” A quote from Deuteronomy 6:13. After this the devil left Him. In every instance Jesus provides a correct response consistent with His relationship with the Father. Complete unity with and trust in the Divine plan.
These three attempts with Jesus are seen in the earlier temptations as well. Food is the basic physical need of our body. FRUIT of the tree. WATER from a rock. Our actions of self-control or lack thereof is out there for everyone to see. Just watch the news on TV or spend time on the internet. The next level of self is the mental state, our thoughts, emotions and words. Many times emotional decisions drive thoughtless deeds. Getting “sold” into a negative course of action by an impractical conversation. Failure of people to trust that the LORD will act on their behalf. This is the very reason Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in Nazareth. The strength of their unbelief.
Our highest state of existence is spiritual. The third temptation is about worship and, I believe, applies to our post CORONA lives. It is a spiritual battle for global governance at local levels. It is our duty and honor to love and serve God above all else. Jesus says to the people in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Another lesson learned here is definitely James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Especially when we have the attitude of gratitude and worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in truth. Our words and deeds must be in unity with each other and with His Holy will to overcome the temptation of compliance with the new world order of domination.
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