By Elizabeth Prata
Everything was perfect. The Garden was perfect. The two humans were perfect. The animals were perfect. God declared His creation “very good”. The humans’ relationship with God was perfect.
We do not know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden but no matter how long it was, there was absolutely nothing to be discontent about. Adam and Eve had full run of the Garden, the animals were submissive, they had plenty to eat, they were neither hot or cold.
When did Eve become discontent? John MacArthur said in his sermon “The Fall of Man,”
“She falls rather innocently into the conversation and the solicitor’s strategy is progressively deceptive. It begins with what appears as this very innocuous question by just this interested observer. Here’s just an animal in the garden like a lot of other animals and this animal comes up and says, “Indeed, has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” This is the first question, by the way, in the Bible. Before this there were only answers. There weren’t any dilemmas because there was nobody to introduce a dilemma. And the question is designed to start Eve on a path, a path of questioning God, a path that leads from questioning God to doubting God, to distrusting God to disobeying God. It’s a very clever plan and it’s the essence of all sin. All sin follows the same pattern. You have a right to question God, you have a right to doubt God, you have a right to distrust God that leads to disobedience.”
Along came satan, and here we find the first question in the bible. “Hath God said?” by that question released into the world…and it is this deadly force, the assumption that what God said is subject to our judgment.”
Once that assumption that we have the right to judge what God hath said, and Eve entertained it, it turned Eve’s mind in a new direction. With every human afterwards, in sinful flesh, born into a cursed world, we make room for discontent. We must cling to God in order to squeeze out the disgruntledness we tend to feel. Abel was content, and he was close to God. How do I know? Abel sacrificed rightly. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice. Cain was not close to God and he offered a wrong sacrifice that God did not accept. His discontent was expressed in his incorrect sacrifice.
With Eve and Adam though, what was there to be discontent about? Nothing. So how does a person go from complete contentment to utter sin in just a few moments? Drift from God’s word, that’s how.
The Hebrew word for pleasant in verse 3 is ‘avah’, or ‘taavah’ and it means “exceedingly, greedily, lusting.” There is a parallel event in the bible that talks about lust of this kind. The parallel is in Numbers 11:34, 35; 33:16. The place is named Kibroth-Hattaavah. It translates to “the graves of lust.” The graves of lust, one of the encampments of Israel in the wilderness, where the wandering Israelites desired to eat flesh for their sustenance, declaring they were tired of manna. God became angry, and He sent quails in great quantities; but while the meat was in their mouths, God smote so great a number of them. So many were killed, that the place was called “the graves of those who lusted.” Sin always leads to death.
Psalm 78:30-31, a series of verses to warn mankind against the sin of discontent, also records the historical incident and presents the warning in its title “Tell the Coming Generation”:
he rained meat on them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall in the midst of their camp,
all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.
But before they had satisfied their craving,
while the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God rose against them,
and he killed the strongest of them
and laid low the young men of Israel.
What was it that the coming generation needed to know? Do not be discontent with what God has provided. Trust His word, His promises, and do not look elsewhere to satisfy any earthly craving.
1 Corinthians 10:5-6 repeats the warning. The heading to this set of verses in the New Testament is “Warnings from Israel’s Past”-
Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.
Desiring something different than what God promised or is already delivering is evil. It is rebellion against Him. It is the sin of discontent. Discontent will bring us to “the graves of lust”.
The evil that Eve did was exactly that- discontent. She didn’t want this fruit, she wanted THAT fruit.
The Israelites didn’t want this manna, they wanted THAT quail.
Paul taught us to be content no matter what, with whatever the Lord is doing in our lives.
for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12b-13)
Jesus Himself is the source for all the strength we need to persevere, to resist sin, to rejoice, to be content.
From whence does the sin of discontent arise? It arose in Eve the moment she separated from God’s word. Eve had a relationship with God, we presume. We know she had a relationship with His word. She repeated His word to the serpent. She was fine with standing on His word until the serpent came along.
So it is the serpent’s fault? No, he was just a vehicle. The sin in Eve began the moment she failed to adhere to God’s word, and in that little sliver of separation, the serpent got in and widened and widened it and widened it, until the sin inside her was manifested in the action she took, bringing on the Fall.
Eve had a moral choice, she could have said-
“Who are you and where do you come from?”
“Adam, what is this serpent really saying?”
“Yes, God said that, now please leave me in peace.”
“[Falling to her knees in prayer] God- help! I need to understand and the best Person to help me understand You is You!”
Eve did none of those. And her discontent grew with each subtle and crafty comment of the serpent.
Ultimately, what happened? Eve and Adam went down to the graves of lust.
We are commanded not to covet. Coveting is a sin. Why should we covet? We have no reason to!
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17).
What He gave Adam and Eve was good and perfect. What He gives us is good and perfect. Why not be content with that?
Just remember, satan was successful in instilling discontent into Eve by separating her from God’s word. Learn to be content in whatever circumstance you find yourself in by reveling in His revelation of Him self to us. Whatever circumstance you find yourselves in, (even in persecution – Paul was writing from jail) know He is working, (John 5:17) and know that this work He is doing is for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28).