March 9

Questions with Strange Answers, Part 3

Genesis 3:10 And [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?

The first of these two questions is so closely attached to the second that we often don’t see the power and purpose of that question. Obviously, both questions look back to v. 7, when “the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” They’d been without clothes for a long time, but it hadn’t been a problem until now. But now “they knew”—not someone told them. What a tragedy—not so much what they discovered, as how they discovered it!

When the Lord asked, “Who told you?” He’s reminding them that He didn’t tell them. He’s calling attention to knowledge they perceived on their own, deliberately and rebelliously apart from God, and this was the problem. The Lord hadn’t imparted knowledge to them, so they had a few facts without the truth of God’s perspective around those facts. Yes, the Lord with this question is calling attention to their sin and rebellion, but He is also probing into their process of receiving information. He wanted to impart precious truths to them Himself, as only He can do it, surrounded with grace, love, and divine perspective. That had been their portion up until now, as they walked with God in the cool of the day. When the Lord asked “Who told you…?,” He was rebuking them for seeking knowledge (and therefore, power and autonomy) on their own, apart from Him.

Look at the fruit of their own perception of their condition—fear, shame and withdrawal.

Adam’s first response to “Where are you?” was to say that he was naked and afraid. His so-called knowledge was instead a fact, the awareness of which produced shame. This is the first evidence and fruit of the knowledge of good and evil—information that causes personal shame and a pulling away from the source of life.

This question points to a sea change in humanity. Now people were seeking on their own, and not receiving directly from God. The result was, and is, fear, shame and withdrawal from God. Seeking information, knowledge, a life, a career—anything—apart from a connection with Him only leads to distorted perspectives, with a coating of insecure pride. Seeking the truth outside of Jesus Christ in trying to find salvation for ourselves is a vain attempt to cover ourselves with something—anything—that will minimize the hurt and stop the shame.

We can never add up facts and come to the truth. The truth is in Jesus (John 1:17) and only the Lord can give us the proper context and perspective for anything we might learn or see. Knowledge is definitely power, and the quest for knowledge and power apart from relationship with God, it turns out, was the opening salvo in the battle against His authority in the lives of humans, and the weak spot exploited by the enemy of our souls.

Do you tend to fall into the same trap as Adam and Eve did here? Do you seek knowledge apart from God? Do you recognize Him as Lord of all truth, including everything you learn? Let’s let Him continue to redeem Adam’s sin by remembering that relationship with Him is both the foundation and capstone of everything we should ever know.

Prayer: Lord, all truth is found in You. I confess that. Please forgive me for the times I seek knowledge and wisdom apart from You. Please take what I know and give it meaning and context by adding and subtracting whatever You want.

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