A Three-Fold Temptation
Genesis 3:1-6
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…

There were three things that wrought upon her.

1. The tree was good for food. A strong reason, had she been famishing, but none when surrounded with the plenty of the rich garden. Strange that she should have cared for it on such an account! She is in no need of food, yet it is on this account that she covets it! She is without excuse in her sin. It was the lust of the flesh that was at work (Ephesians 2:3; 1 John 2:16). She saw in the tree the gratification of that lust, and in God a hinderer of it. Thus she fell.

2. It was a desire of the eyes. And had she no other objects of beauty to gaze upon? Yes; thousands. Yet this forbidden one engrossed her, as if it had acquired new beauty by having been prohibited. Or can she not be satisfied with looking? Must she covet? Must she touch and taste? It is plain that hers was no longer the natural and lawful admiration of a fair object, but an unlawful desire to possess what she admired. It was "the lust of the eye."

3. It was a tree to be desired for imparting wisdom. This was the crowning allurement. She must have wisdom, and she must have it at all risks, and she must have it without delay. She made haste to be wise. She would not in faith wait for God's time and way of giving wisdom. Such was the desire (or lust) of the mind (Ephesians 2:3). These three reasons prevailed. She plucked the fruit, and did eat. Nay, more, she gave also to her husband, who was with her, and he did eat. She was not content to sin alone. Even the dearest on earth must be drawn into the same snare.Let us mark here such lessons as the following: —

1. The danger of trifling with objects of temptation. To linger near them; to hesitate about leaving them; to think of them as harmless — these are the sure forerunners of a fall.

2. The three sources of temptation: the lust of the flesh, of the eye, of the mind. Strictly speaking, they are not in themselves sinful, but in their excess, or disorderly indulgence.

3. The swift progress of temptation. She listened, looked, took, ate! These were the steps. All linked together, and swiftly following each other. The beginning how small and simple; the end how terrible! (James 1:25). You begin with a look, you end in apostasy from God. You begin with a touch, you end in woe and shame. You begin with a thought, you end in the second death. Yet of all these steps God protests solemnly that He is not the Author (James 1:13). It is man that is his own ensnarer and destroyer. Even Satan cannot succeed unless seconded by man himself.

4. The tendency of sin to propagate itself. No sooner has the tempted one yielded than he seeks to draw others into the snare. He must drag down his fellows with him. There seems an awful vitality about sin; a fertility in reproduction, nay, a horrid necessity of nature for self-diffusion. It never lies dormant. It never loses its power of propagation. Let it be the smallest conceivable, it possesses the same terrific diffusiveness. Like the invisible seeds that float through our atmosphere, it takes wing the moment it comes into being, flying abroad, and striking root everywhere, and becoming the parent of ten thousand others.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

WEB: Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Has God really said, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?'"

A Talk About Temptation
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