Thanks to $30 and an ad on Craigslist, there are over 250 Lego blocks in our playroom. Thanks to the kindness of dozens of people who love our family, there are DOZENS of stuffed animals in our home. There are also many puzzles, VeggieTales movies, and books. My three toddlers (4, 2-1/2, & 2-1/2) are welcome to play with any of the many – all if they so choose. But, they are not to play with the Clorox bottle.
Does that make me a mean, restrictive father? Am I a controlling bully? Am I a hulking, omnipresent killjoy who doesn’t want them to have any fun? Or, am I concerned Dad that knows there is a purpose and a place for Clorox and they could poison or badly chem-burn themselves?
Call it Like it Is:
Don’t we all sort of suffer from the tendency to look at what we don’t have rather than what we do? If I can inflict some honesty on us early on in the post – it’s called “ingratitude”, but God just calls it “sin”. I know, you were hoping for a feel-good post to kick off the week, right?
So here’s the scene where it all went awry: God makes everything good, gives Adam and Eve the keys to the kingdom and gives them some time to be “alone together” – if you have small children or aging parents living in your home, this is called “us time”, and it’s a rare commodity. I can’t imagine wanting time away from God, but there they had it. While the bible doesn’t tell us exactly how many trees God left them there with, judging from the incredible biodiversity of the rest of the planet, it’s probably more than the number of Legos and toys in my house, fair enough?
Satan shows up, all hater-like, probably ticked off that there are new neighbors in the best part of “his” town, and starts spinning the instructions God gave them:
“Level with me, lady, did God really say ‘you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’” (see Gen. 3:1-3)
Not only does he use a different name for God (YHWH) than God had just used for himself over 20 times in the previous two chapters (Elohim), but he completely spins the conversation backward… God did say they could eat of every tree… freely even! (see Gen. 2.16-17 – ” ‘akal – devour, eat freely”) Trouble is, Eve falls for it and Adam lets the ship go right over the falls. Disaster.
Because both Adam and Eve failed to recognize (and quote back to him) what they did have, they allowed their focus to be shifted to what they didn’t have. It’s not like God left the kids alone in the kitchen with candy on the table and said “don’t touch any of this while I’m gone”. On the contrary, He gave them everything with only one prohibition for their safety.
Imagine how Genesis 3 would have looked had Eve corrected the snake by saying “No, actually, God’s not holding out on us, at all. In fact, He gave us 738 species of trees with more to come, each with a different kind of fruit and flavor. Adam and I have tasted all 738 and were blown away by their flavors, but then God told us to try combinations of flavors and totally blew our minds. Oh, that one in the middle of the garden? It’s poisonous, so He told us to stay away from it. Isn’t that great?“
When it appears choices are limited and options are poor, you can be sure the enemy is trying to put blinders on you or spin the truth into a lie of God’s restriction and holding out on you. A wide and deep perspective of who God is, what He has done, and the riches of His grace provide a perspective that can only lead to gratitude. Be grateful for the many Legos and remember, Clorox has its purpose and place.