The Question is: What is this you have done? - 4 July 2022

By Louise Gevers

God addresses wrongdoing in His own time, regardless of who we are. How we respond depends on how serious our regard for Him is, and how teachable and open to His Word we are.

On all levels in our country there is increasing evidence that “the serpent deceived and people ate”, eroding God’s standards for protecting human life and leading to overwhelming human suffering and need through self-interest, corruption, denial of justice, and greed. We’ve only to listen to the conversations on the radio and read the news daily to have irrefutable evidence of the sin that oppresses us from without and within.

In light of this, God’s question to Eve is relevant to us. Everyone needs to acknowledge disobedience, accept responsibility, and be freed from self-deception; to grow through this humbling experience and be better equipped to resist in future.

We don’t know if Eve wrestled with temptation before disobeying God’s command in favour of the forbidden fruit, but we do know that Satan’s smooth talk succeeded in making her think that this sin was good, desirable and harmless – does he ever present sin as anything else – and she would benefit from it as it, “looked good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom …” (Genesis 3:6)

James explains: “A person is tempted when he is drawn away and trapped by his own evil desire. Then his evil desire conceives and gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15) And Eve’s choice brought death – expulsion from the Garden and separation from God.

Eve could never have envisaged the magnitude of the impact that her sin would have, and when we sin, neither do we. The snake’s crafty logic that appealed to their desires is just as shrewd to deceive people today, clouding our judgment and causing us to block out any thought of God, who “will teach you the way you should go … instruct and advise you.” (Psalm 32:8) and who had our best interest at heart from the beginning.

We can’t pretend that what God said to Eve doesn’t apply to us, too, or that we’ve never responded as she did, exonerating ourselves and finding someone, or something, to blame. Refusing to admit our wrongdoing increases our pride, and allows our desires and lusts free reign, which, together with our reluctance to take responsibility for it, perpetuates the story of mankind’s struggle against temptation, sin and failure.

Unlike Eve, we know that Jesus died for the sin of the world and we can go to Him to confess our sin freely, and receive cleansing, forgiveness and eternal life. Confession prevents us growing more hardened to sin and makes us more sensitive to hearing God’s Word to us.

John writes, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

What is it that we have done?

Prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12) Amen