Daniel Fast 2023

hc_logoHOPE Community

Message Text

Genesis 2: 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 3: 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Message Notes

When we read the creation account, we witness all the intricacies of the earth and its inhabitants. God had created everything to work in perfect harmony together, including a place for Adam and Eve to live and experience the full goodness of their creator. In ultimate freedom they would experience life in the perfect care of God himself.

Freedom did have a few restrictions. They were free to eat of anything in the garden they desired except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Could it be possible that true freedom would actually include some restrictions? The life Adam and Eve were living was full and without blemish. It was an open and shameless existence in the full presence of God, who was seeing to it that they had everything good.

1. Only God knows what true freedom is.

Genesis 2: 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God himself was the only one in this equation to know what had happened before creation, during creation, and after creation. The freedom Adam and Eve were living in did not require them to have a knowledge of good and evil, but the knowledge that their creator was good. Is it possible that God continues to be the only one that knows what will set us free?

John 8:31-32 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Our American liberties and freedom are constantly evolving, expanding and retracting as time goes on. True freedom has never changed with governments. The freedom that is offered through Christ transcends anything offered by a state. In America we must take advantage of the freedom currently offered by the state to display the true freedom offered by our creator.

2. True freedom includes some restrictions.

“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

God had offered them everything good and restricted them from the knowledge of evil. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean you should participate. There is a fine line between freedom and bondage, and it has to do with the knowledge of good and evil.

The restriction was not to limit the good in Adam and Eve’s life - it was to make sure that good was all they were experiencing. Restrictions are not to keep us in bondage but to point us to freedom.

Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

We are, as Americans, free to engage in evil without repercussions from the government, but that never leads to true freedom. We as followers of Christ are bound to a higher calling that includes guardrails that may or may not put us in line with our “free” culture.

1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

3. Unrestricted freedom equals more bad and less good.

5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Adam and Eve were already created in the image of God. They did not need to be more like God. Knowing or experiencing more evil never leads to freedom.

Kids do not require an intimate knowledge of evil to live a free life. As parents we spend a lot of energy protecting them from the presence of evil so they can experience the freedom of being a child.

Adam and Eve’s sudden knowledge of evil produced less freedom in their lives. The first act after acquiring the knowledge of evil was to cover up what God had made beautiful.

America’s fascination over the centuries with freedom of everything has caused our society to cover up the very things God has deemed as beautiful: marriage, children, sex, music, entertainment, etc.

John Adams to Massachusetts Militia, 11 October 1798: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence, let us as followers of Christ make the commitment to live a truly free life by submitting to the life God has laid out before us. More good, less evil.