If you’ve ever read the tragic story of how our forebears, Adam and Eve, lost their home in Eden, you know that “Hath God said…?” was the catalyst that set that process in motion.
It was an innocent question.
“Yes, hath God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Eve’s reply started out pretty well, “He did say that. Just that one tree, though.”
I’ve wondered if at that moment Eve was thinking something like what I think when I know I shouldn’t eat something, But I really would like to have a bite. It looks so good, so juicy, so delicious! Surely, just a little bite… And so, just to strengthen her stand against a creeping temptation, she puts up her own fence law, “And we aren’t even supposed to TOUCH it, lest we die.”
Ah, there it was, the opening for her enemy to trip her up with a lie of his own. Maybe he could tell she wasn’t firm in her knowledge of what God had said or, perhaps, wavering in her commitment to it, so he knew he could get her to let it go.
“You shall not surely die,” he said.
(But they did. They began to die that very day.)
Then, in case she didn’t buy the claim that she wouldn’t die, and to make sure he didn’t lose her attention at that point, he let her know she was missing something, “God knows your eyes shall be opened and you’ll be like gods, knowing good and evil.”
Oh Eve, your God has been holding out on you! He has been holding you back, don’t you know? You can be your own god; your own knowledge will lead you; your own strength will provide for you. Your own common sense, gleaned from your own eyes and experience, is all the wisdom you will ever need.
Those words, or some variation of those words, are still doing the rounds today.
Have been since the Garden.
And since the Garden, much of the world gives no thought to finding out exactly what God has said. But we should. Those of us who call Jesus both Saviour and Lord, and who want to walk with him in a relationship that is lively and fruitful, must know we can’t walk with him in any practical, faith-filled, trusting way without knowing his words. His true words. His true heart.
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
There has been quite a bit of discussion about the application of this verse from Amos. One opinion is that it simply means two can’t walk together unless they have agreed to meet and go together on a particular path, that there is no expectation there will be agreement on everything.
In a way, it makes sense. We can do life together with a church congregation without agreeing with everything they say and do. We have common ground that we are walking on, overall, and we choose to walk it together.
Another of the opinions expressed is that Amos 3:3 isn’t saying we can’t walk with God unless we agree with Him in everything. I guess it would be presumptuous to think that on any given day we are walking perfectly, with perfect knowledge of “What God hath said” about every single situation we encounter. So, that makes sense, too.
But still, why would we want to disagree with God, or try to find a way to discount what He said? Why would we be so foolish?
I’ve lived long enough to know that having access to the wisdom of someone who knows immeasurably more than I do about any subject — health, finances, cooking, writing — is key to my success in any of those areas, at least when I listen and implement what they tell me to do. So why wouldn’t I be diligent to know “what hath God said” about how and where to walk in this crazy, beautiful, broken world?
Even though I am born again…His precious child, the object of His love and constant attention, one whose cry He will hear at any hour of the day…can I truly walk with Him into the Abundant Life that He has provided for me, unless I seek His face, seek His strength, and seek His words?
“Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).
One of the greatest foundational truths of the church is that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by good works which, no matter how noble, can never change our spiritual birth status. We have also been given the Creator’s wisdom and knowledge in both the Old and New Testaments—our inheritance, right there in black and white and sometimes red. As God gave seed to Adam and Eve in the Garden, He has provided His word as seed we plant in our hearts that produce the issues of the life He planned for us. Even though various translations, paraphrases and amplifications might on some topics vary in their message (Just read a few, side by side, and you’ll see what I mean.), it will not be a waste of our time to search for what God has truly said.
So, let’s search out His words with the help of the Holy Spirit, the teacher of the church. And when we find them, choose to agree with them. Take as our own the powerful words of One who spoke and the world came to be.
And let’s remember this: Our enemy still roams the earth, and still sounds pretty much the same. We don’t have to engage in conversation with him, but if he tries to start one, we’ll know full well what God hath said.