Don’t Eat the Forbidden Fruit (by Rev. Morgan Murray)
Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence didn’t extend to God’s kids. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was:
"Don’t what?" Adam replied
"Don’t eat the forbidden fruit." God said.
"Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit? Hey Eve! We got forbidden fruit!"
"DON’T EAT THAT FRUIT!" Said God.
"Because I am your Father and I said so!" said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making elephants.
A few minutes later God saw his kids having an apple break and was angry.
Didn’t I tell you not to the fruit?" the First Parent asked.
"Uh huh," Adam replied.
"Then why did you?"
"I dunno," Eve answered.
"She started it!" Adam said.
Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus, the pattern was set and it has never been changed. Sound a bit familiar?
We expect our children to obey, because we are looking out for their best interest. But then we turn around to our loving Heavenly Parent and act the same way as our kids. We wrestle with God. We question God and his wisdom. We question his loving care for us. We question the God who has chosen us; who has adopted us and grafted us into his family. We question the God who gave his only Son to die on a cross for us. We question the God who created us and knows us better than ourselves. We question the God all-knowing, all-powerful, always present.
But this is the God who gave us free will that we might choose to obey, choose to follow, and choose to love him.
Teach your children
Ephesians 6.1-4; Proverbs 22.6; Proverbs 23.13-14
As you teach your children, you give them more and more freedom. It is your goal to raise them to one day be independent.
At the same time God teaches us more and more and so that we can trust him more and more and depend on him more and more.
One of my favorite passages is Psalm 16.6: "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." That’s a reassuring passage to me. It tells me God is watching over me. That he has a hedge of protection around me. That he is guiding me.
Families with small children who live near a road sometimes put a fence up: to protect their children; so that when they don’t know any better they don’t wander out onto the street. As children get a little older they may figure out how to open the gate. And they test the boundaries.
And we do the same with God. Sometimes we bump into God’s boundaries and we think, I’m older now. I know a little more now. I think these boundary lines need moved out a little bit. Or we need to test the boundaries to see if God really does know what is best.
Adam and Eve were given boundaries, “Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” They began to wonder, “But why?” “I wonder what it tastes like?” And Satan comes and after questioning Adam and Eve, says, “Surely you will not die.”
None of us likes to feel “boxed in.” But sometimes, we feel God’s boundaries and we feel boxed in. We see other people doing other things and we wonder, “Why can’t I do that?” “It doesn’t seem to be hurting them.”
Even a lot of people who are not Christians are good at taking a day of rest. Putter around the house. Have brunch guests over. Spend time with the family. And this is Father’s Day today, so what about the priority of family?
Read Matthew 10.37-39. This is a more specific paraphrase of the first commandment. “Have no other god’s before me.” Put nothing before me, not even family.
God’s boundaries help us prioritize. Love God and he will teach you to love one another. Discover God’s love and you will discover how to truly love your family.
The charge of Ephesians 6.4 4 is, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Caution: Love of God is not equated to church work. If you live at the church and are consumed with the work of the church, your family can suffer. God first; family second; then the work of the church. A good guideline is one hour of worship, one hour of ministry, one hour of Bible Study each week.
“Work smarter; not harder.” Invisible line, the harder you work the less effective your work is.
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6.24)
This is another specific example of the first commandment. “Have no other god’s before me.” Are you going to trust God’s boundaries? Or rely on self? Are you going to give to God what is his?
Another family application: Where do you balance family and work? Is providing financially for your family the same as spending time with them? Does financial provision equate with love? Where are the boundaries?
One message from the Song of Solomon: "never awaken love before it is ready." Sex is a gift of God to a man and woman who covenant together in marriage. The world, however, shows us a different picture. Our young people are pressured by other voices.
Statitistics indicate that those who live together are twice as likely to get divorced after they do marry. Studies show that the more premarital sex you have, the less likely you’ll be happy in your future marriage and the more likely that you or your spouse will cheat after you’re wed. Married couples are less likely to have a satisfactory sex life if they live together first. Married couples reported being the most physically pleased and emotionally satisfied. Physical and emotional satisfaction started to decline when people had more than one sex partner.
TV/movies do not show the consequences: teenage pregnancy, 1.2 million children born each year without fathers (disadvantage socially, financially, emotionally, behaviorally, academically, and even
physically), 1 out of 7 high school students graduate with STD, AIDS.
1 Corinthians 6.16-19
Will we trust God? Will we trust his boundaries? That they are for our good.
Test them and see if you can say, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places" (Psalm 16.6).