Friday, January 16, 2009

Who told you? (Part 1) Gen 3:11

"And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'" (Genesis 3:11)
The scriptures record that, when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, there eyes "were opened, and they knew that they were naked." (Genesis 3:7) Yet, when God shows up on the scene, He didn't ask them how they knew they were naked but rather who told them they were naked. It is apparent that they knew they were naked even before eating the fruit, in fact the scriptures says that they were "both naked and were not ashamed." (Gen 2:25) They already knew they were naked, but now, for the first time, they perceived that their nakedness was something to be ashamed of. They were no longer "not ashamed" but rather full of shame and fear. In the opening of their eyes they came to see themselves in a different light; in a condemning light.

So who told them they were naked? The answer is not very difficult to discover. It wasn't God, He had just arrived on the scene. Nor was it Adam or Eve, they were the tellees not the tellers. That leaves only one other talking being in the garden, the serpent. After eating the fruit, something sinister transpired, something was said and intimated by the serpent that sowed shame and fear into the hearts of Adam and Eve, and this shame and fear caused them, for the first time in their lives, to retreat and hide from God. Something was said to them that would forever change the way they looked at themselves and would forever altered their relationship with God.

Many of us have areas of our lives where we withdraw, from life and even from God. For most of us, the leading cause of our failure to achieve our full potential or to advance further in our walk and relationship with God, is not a lack of ability or opportunity, but rather is the paralyzing effect of lies and slanders, spoken over us by others, and believed by us in our hearts. We allow the words of others to form invisible walls; invisible walls that end up defining us and form the barriers of our lives. Wall that set our limits which, in our fear and shame, we are not inclined to press.

We can all relate to these lies, many of which we repeat often to ourselves. "I'm not strong enough." "I'm not pretty enough." "I will never be like so-and-so." "I will never be accepted by others." "I will always be poor." "I will always fail." "I am a dummy and will never amount to anything." "God will never love me." "I will never change". Lies like these, and others, can cripple our lives and hinder our walk with the Lord.

When faced with these lies, it is good for us to remember what God asked Adam, "Who told you?" Who told you that you would never succeed? Who told you that God would never forgive you for what you have done? Who told you that no one would ever love you? Who told you that you can't, shouldn't, or would always do this-or-that. While these are questions you must answer yourselves, the truth is that, it wasn't God! God did not speak those things into your heart, it may have been other people or even the serpent, but it wasn't God.

More to come... David Robison

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  1. Anonymous3:40 PM

    David, I disagree that the serpent told Adam and Eve they were naked. I suggest you revisit the text. There were two trees -- (1) Tree of Life and (2) Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The second they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their consciences were activated. They obtained knowledge of their nakedness from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They knew it was evil, which caused them to hide in shame. My e-mail address is

  2. First, thanks for your comments. It is always encouraging to hear from my readers. You could be right that the answer to "who told you" could be "no one" in that they arrived at the information themselves. However, it seems to me that the central issue is not when they first arrived at the knowledge that they were naked, since it must have been obvious to them from the beginning, but what caused them to suddenly view their nakedness as a cause of shame. It seems to me most striking that, for the first time, they were ashamed of their nakedness, even though that was how God had created them. Before, they had no problem with how God had created them, but now they were ashamed. Because of this I prefer my interpretation, but you never know, I could be wrong. Thanks again for your comment. David