Parashat Beresheet (In the beginning)
Beresheet (Genesis) 1:1–6:8
Here we are, back at the beginning of the yearly Scripture reading! This is such a familiar Scripture to most of us, but there are always fresh insights from the LORD as His Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). As I was reflecting on this week’s portion, Beresheet, I had some thoughts that I want to share with you and I hope you will be encouraged in your walk today:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 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. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.
Genesis 3:1–12 (emphasis mine)
There are a few points that I want to highlight in the verses above:
- Temptation is not sin. Oftentimes, we get confused between the temptation and the actual act of sin. We live in a day and age where temptations are all around us, and the reality is that we can’t really control their presence. However, what we can control is what we do with those temptations; do we entertain them and allow them to become sin in our lives?
As we can learn from the story above, the temptation was whether or not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. The temptation to eat was not an actual sin. But the temptation to eat quickly turned into sin because Adam & Eve were easily overcome by it. We need to learn how to deal with the temptation in our lives, and not allow it to overcome us so that it becomes sin. We have everything we need in Messiah to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must also learn how to keep every thought captive, submitting it to Him, and to daily train our minds in the ways of the LORD rather than the ways of the world (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- The first religion is found in this account. What do I mean by this? Well, religion is man’s attempt to reach God, by doing things that seem right in our eyes. God says one thing, but we interpret it differently. God told them not to eat of the tree, but Eve said it was forbidden to eat and touch the fruit. We tend to complicate things, don’t we? We think we can do it in our own strength, and we put a heavy yoke on ourselves in order to please God. Our own set of rules often becomes the reason why we fail to do that which God has asked of us. Let’s keep it simple and follow His way, not our own idea of it.
- God knows everything; we can’t run away or hide from Him. Shame is one of the enemy’s greatest strongholds in our lives. Once we sin against God, we tend to hide instead of bringing it to the light of confession. The moment that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, they saw that they were naked, and they hid. The reality is, my dear brothers and sisters, that God knows everything in our lives! He sees everything that is done in secret and in darkness — nothing is hidden from Him. The GREAT NEWS, however, is that Yeshua died in order to redeem us from everything that is done in darkness. We should not be ashamed nor hide, but rather bring everything to the light, and expect the atonement that He gave to each of us. This is true freedom that only Messiah can bring.
- Human nature is to run from taking responsibility and blame others — even God. When God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”, Adam’s immediate reaction was to blame Eve: “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Instead of taking responsibility for his own wrong actions, Adam blamed Eve for causing him to sin, even going so far as to blame God for giving him the woman that caused him to sin. But aren’t we like this, too? Instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, it’s so easy to blame everyone around us, and sadly, even our Creator. The truth is that our shame and pride blind us from seeing the reality.
So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
When temptation comes, we can call upon Him to help us not to act upon it so that it becomes sin. But when we do sin, we need to take responsibility and bring that sin to the light instead of making it worse by blaming God and others, giving all kinds of excuses. One of the greatest things about our faith in Yeshua is that, because we have relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, we are free to obey God, not because we are obligated to (religion), but because we get to (relationship).