Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. (1 John 2:16)
Among the God’s creation, God truly loved Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. God truly pleased with them because they were created in God’s own image. God placed them in the Garden of Eden, and they enjoyed the blessed relationship with God. But they sinned against God by falling into their own temptation and ate the forbidden fruit despite of God’s warning.
They loved to listen to the lie of the Serpent because the lie was so sweet to their ears. The Serpent told, “if you eat the fruit, you would be like God.” Then they saw the forbidden fruit by their own eyes. It looked delicious, and it would make them like God. Yes, it was a lie, but they wanted that the lie was true. Once a temptation comes in one’s heart, unless taking out the temptation by pulling up by the root, it deeply roots in one’s heart and spread throughout by controlling the entire heart. Therefore, although a temptation looks insignificant or so innocent too giving no harm, we have to completely eliminate it to its root. Bible tells us,
but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonian 5:21-22)
Yes, temptations are everyway, and we are constantly bombarded by all kinds of temptations. Each person has a different weakness to temptations. Thus, we need to be fully awake and be alert with our watchful eyes to resist against temptations coming at us. Even so, some of them precisely aim at our weakness to destroy us utterly. If we only rely on our own might and strength, our defeat is sure. Then what shall we do? We have to rely on the Holy Spirit in us. Why? We are so weak before temptations, but with the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ we can win by defending against all temptations fiercely aiming us with full strength while hitting our weaknesses.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (Ephesians 6:13)
Yes, we need God’s armor, and fight back to our temptations. Our victory is sure. And we will stand firm on the solid ground in our faith. Our enemies will be utterly destroyed. Then, we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ and continue running the race given to us without being hindered by temptations constantly aiming at us. Again, let’s not forget one thing: Our Victory is Sure in Christ. Give thinks to God, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
What did Adam and Eve, the first man and woman actually respond to their temptations? They just gave in. In fact, they entertained the temptations, which could only provide temporally transient joy. Soon they tasted the real taste of sin. The fear of God fell on them along with of the darkness. They hid from the face of God of the light. This was the result of the sin of Adam and Eve. They trembled before God. They used to love His presence like children before their parents. Their lives in the paradise suddenly turned into the lives in a hell. They wanted to hid in the darkness. The Ever-Loving Father became the very object of their biggest fear.
God had to send them away because there were in fear of living in the paradise. God, full of love, did not send them away alone, but God gave His solemn promise of His eternal salvation that would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ on cross. God also gave an immediate protection by making clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife out of God’s love. Yes, God is love. God always loves His children. Thus, we should believe His love, and when we hear His voice, we should not harden our hearts and come to Him while asking His mercy and forgiveness.
do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, (Hebrews 3:8)
However, the sin came in the world tenaciously clang to Adam, Eve and their children. Soon Cain, the first-born son, killed his younger brother, Abel. Before the murder, was there a big fight between two brothers? No. Cain was just jealous of Abel’s offering that was better received by God. Cain should have had thrown away his jealousy, but he kept it in his heart. His jealousy looking almost innocent quickly grew into a hate of his brother, and then it turned into a murderous thought. Again, Cain should have had resisted this vicious thought. He didn’t. Sadly, in reality, he could not.
This law of sin equally applies to all of us without exception. Nobody can control one’s own heart once it is filled with a feeling of evil, such as jealousy, hate, etc. Such things go in deep in our heart. Then what happens? It starts to control the entirety of ourselves including thoughts, emotions and actions. There is no innocent jealousy. Instead, all jealousies lead to a sin unless we quickly remove from our hearts. We should not forget the terrible sin committed by Cain. An innocently-looking plain jealousy turned into the murder of his own brother.
Human beings on earth multiplied as God initially blessed, while filling the earth. However, the wickedness of human beings also multiplied among people. God saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So God was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And God said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” God looked around, and found one man, Noah who was righteous before God. Noah found favor with the LORD.
God commanded Noah to build an ark to prepare the upcoming flood that would destroy all things with breath. Noah faithfully heard God’s command, and built the ark exactly as God commanded. The ark was located in the middle of a dry land, and Noah gave a warning of the impending judgement by a flood that had been seen ever before. All regarded the warning of Noah as a joke while treating him a lunatic because Noah was building a huge boat in the middle of a dry land to prepare a flood that would never come. They continued making their own lives while maintaining their life style by marring, parting and enjoying days on the earth. But the time set by God actually came.
Noah and his family along with all kinds of animals got in the ark, and the entrance of the ark was shut. All the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights. For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. The floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days. The waters wipe out from the earth all the living things.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, exactly five months from the time the flood began the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.
Noah was 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry! Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
Per God’s command, Noah got out of the ark with his family. He also released all the animals saved through the flood with him. The first thing that Noah did was building an alter to God and he gave an offering to God with his highest thanksgiving coming out of the deepest part of his heart. God was pleased, and God made his covenant by telling,
“I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things.” (Genesis 8:21b)
Then God also promised a sign for His covenant by placing a rainbow in the clouds after rain. What we can see — His love and longsuffering. He promised not to destroy all living things again because of human race, even though everything they think or imagine became sinful again. Indeed, God had His Holy Salvation plan against the sinful nature of human beings, and God had never forsaken human beings, His most precious creation of all made in His own image. God continued loving human beings.
This is the reason why we can lean on God in every moment — standing firm on a solid ground of faith in Him or suffering from our painful fall because of our sin. Let’s not forget — God’s grace is bigger than all our sins combined. God’s grace is greater than all our sinful nature in us. God’s love never fails. God provided this truth on the cross. Jesus Christ died for us on cross, and this sacrifice took away all our sins. Then the broken relationship between God and human beings was restored. Even this moment, God wants all to come Him. He will not ask about our sins, but He will give His mercy instead. If we confess our sins before God, God lovingly forgive our sins. He will not ask again. Instead, He lovingly cleans our heart and comfort us by taking away our wickedness in us to be whole again before Him.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)
All of the wicked people died, and Noah and his family inherited the world. The new world has been started. People again multiplied.
Differing from nowadays, all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They were not wicked as the people before the Noah’s flood, who were perished by the flood. They lived harmoniously. People worked together while being one minded. As a result, they could do more than what they thought they could before. Their skills and technologies made a huge progress. People became extremely confident on their skills and technologies. They built towns bigger and bigger. They saw what they did, which was so impressive that they could not believe their own eyes. They felt that their power limitless. They indulged in themselves while looking at their huge achievements, which were right before their eyes.
Some said, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” With the newly developed technology, they could make much harder bricks, which could replace stones. Not like stone, they could make the hardened bricks as they liked. The new high-tech bricks enabled them to build anything that they like. They, then, said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
As hearing this, people were flocking in to build the tower. It was a huge undertaking, but all were excited about what they could do with their own hands. People were organized thee groups: those who made bricks, those who carried the bricks to the construction site, and finally those who actually built the tower. All happily worked day after day. The tower started revealing its magnificent posture as getting higher. Even people at the end of the earth could see the huge tower reaching to the sky. Those who were working on the tower building were very proud of what they were doing. The tower was getting higher and higher every day.
There was only one topic among people whenever they got together. It was the height of the tower getting taller every day. The height of the tower slowly, but steadily stole the people’s hearts. The tower proved again and again every day there was nothing that they couldn’t do. Every day the tower broke the record of the prior day. The tower continued getting higher and higher. They truly impressed by their own invention of the high-tech harden bricks, their skills and the tower. The tip of the tower could not be seen because it was obscured by the cloud.
The people’s hearts were getting attached to the tower as getting bigger and taller every day. They were impressed by their capability, and then they felt the god-like power in them. But God Himself in their heart was slowly drifting away.
How did the first sin come in? By eating the forbidden fruit. Then why did Adam and Eve actually eat the forbidden fruit? What was told by the serpent? Yes, the serpent told to Eve, “you would be like God.” Being like God is truly seductive because it directly touches our very nature of being created in God’s image. In other words, we all want to be a god. Satan knew this Achilles’ heel of our nature, and attacked precisely the most vulnerable part. As Satan expected, Eve fell, and Adam as well. In fact, there was even no single struggle against this attack of the serpent. The history repeated. The sinfulness of human beings was not changed. The Noah’s flood completely eliminated the wicked people, but the decedents of the Noah got trapped in the same temptation that Adam and Eve had – being like God.
Why is this a serious sin? Two gods cannot coexist in our heart. In other words, we cannot serve God while we placing ourselves at the center of our heart as a god. Jesus said:
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. (Matthew 6:24b)
God knew what’s going in people’s hearts. God could not let His most precious creation – human beings. God came down and confused the people with different languages. Suddenly, they could not communicate each other. No matter what they did, they could not understand each other. The working place of tower building became chaotic. The people started scattering all over the world, and the tower building stopped. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where God confused the people with different languages.
Those who were confused and left Babel, where they built together the monumental tower reaching the sky while being impressed by their own achievement. God intervened them because God love them. If not, they could have been completely spoiled. It was very painful to the people as well as God. But God did out of His love.
How about us? Do we have our own god other than God in our heart? How can we know this? Please listen carefully what we say. It gives an answer to this question. What we say most is what we love most. Then that is the god in our heart because we will spent most of our time and energy for what we love most. In other words, we become slave to what we love most. Then it is our god, which is the first sin before God.
We are spiritually confused every day because of the world full of temptations and because of our hearts quickly filled up with jealousy and other wickedness. Please have a quiet time before God. Be calm and listen to God’s voice through prayers and/or reading His Word. We will hear Him and know what we really serve as our god. God will reveal it. If what we really serve is not God, immediately ask to God for His forgiveness and pray for His intervention in our heart with His Holy Spirit to get rid of our own god, i.e., our own idol. Then God, who dearly loves, will restores the beautiful relationship that Adam and Eve initially enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. Surely we will find peace even in this chaotic world in Him, and enjoy His presence in our heart. Our God is love and His love endures thousands of generations. Give thanks to God because He is unfathomably good!
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)