(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Why did God put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden?
Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Ever had this question…been asked that question?
I was asked again recently in my confirmation class.
It is hard to understand if eating from this tree brought sin, evil, and death into the world…why would God even create the chance for that to happen?
Let’s take a step back.
If I make a robot and program it to always pick up my shoes and put them back in their rack at 10pm every day, would I say that robot is worshipping? No. It is just doing what it was programmed to do. Would I say that robot is loving me and appreciating me for who I am and what I have done for the robot? No. It’s just doing what it was programmed to do.
When someone else, who doesn’t have to, picks up my shoes and puts them away, that is a show of love (or just a desire to have the house picked up…or both!)
God did not create robots. He created people with whom he desired to have a relationship. A forced relationship…a robotic relationship…a programmed relationship has no room for love and worship. Only when one is free to chose NOT to love, is love genuine. Only when one is able to choose NOT to worship, is worship genuine.
Love is a response to the One who loved us first. Worship is the same. Worship is our response to who God is and what he has done for us. It looks for the way to honor him.
I guess you could say that Adam and Eve could worship by taking care of the Garden of Eden as God commanded – but they were also free to NOT take care of the garden. I guess you could say that Adam and Eve could worship by treating each other as the loving partner God had made them to be…but they were also free to NOT act in love toward each other. God also gave them the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as a means to express their love for God and his Word by listening to his direction and NOT eating from the tree. By its very name, it presented the reality that there was another potential in the world…evil. This tree was a reminder.
Worship is always freely given. God has always desired that the relationship we enjoy with him and the expression of worship that flows from that relationship is one that is freely given. Sure God has given over the centuries ways for us to express that worship and honor who he is and what he has done for us, but he also has allowed worship to flow freely in however we are led to respond to his love and grace.
In the absence of worship of God, sin and worship of self fills the void. Satan used the Tree of Knowledge to cause Adam and Eve to question the wisdom and goodness of God. As a result, they responded in sin to what they were deceived to think they were lacking and then lost sight for a moment who God is and what he had done for them. Worship stopped. Sin started.
Worship is what we were created to do because we were created to know God and be the recipients of all his goodness. Yet that worship was to be freely given in response to all God gave.
Even in spite of the sin of Adam and Eve and all since…including you and me, God’s desire still is that we know him for who he is as our loving Creator and Savior, and honor him for what he has done for us – restoring what our sin has broken.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Apply: What leads you to feel like worship is “demanded” versus “freely given.”
Prayer: Lord thank you for revealing to us who you are. Thank you for all you have done for us. Lead our worship to be always done, not out of compulsion, but out of a heart truly impacted by you and your love. AMEN.