A Subtle Shift
by Mary Alice McGinnis
I love vacationing at the beach. Feeling the sun on my face and the power of gentle ocean waves against my body refreshes me. In an instance, I can bring to memory times of being out in the surf, chest high in the water, catching a wave as it comes in, and riding it in toward the shore. I can hear the laughter and joy of those moments. Time after time as I ride the curls of the foaming waves in toward the shore, I soon find myself quite a distance from my resting place on the beach, where my towel, chair and refreshments await me.
How does that happen? How do we so quickly find ourselves in a different place than we intended to be?
It starts with a subtle shift.
I noticed such a subtle shift as I was studying today’s passage.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made."
Notice that at first God is called the LORD God. In the Hebrew text these words are LORD (Jehovah or Yahweh) and God (Elohim).
Yahweh was the name of God, held in such honor and reverence that it was thought sacrilege to even speak His Name. It is often translated as Jehovah. The sacred Name of God, Yahweh, was the name given to Moses when he encountered God in the burning bush. Yahweh means “I AM.” It relates to God’s eternal, unchanging, perfect nature.
The word Elohim – God – points more to God’s supreme authority and rule over all things.
The God who had created all the living creatures, including Adam and Eve, was both their eternal, unchangeable, perfectly good, and loving God, AND their supreme authority and ruler.
But in the Serpent’s first words to Eve, he uses ONLY the word GOD – Elohim, the supreme authority and ruler of all.
“He said to the woman, “Did God really say . . .?”
From this small shift, Satan begins to weave his seeds of doubt, and plays on the most basic of human fears – fear of missing out, the fear of lack, the fear that God is not good, that He is holding out on us, and that we must take things into our own hands.
On the opposite side, it plays on the most basic of human longings –the deceitful pleasures that tell us we can’t be whole without having what we want, the desire to be self-sufficient and our own boss and NO ONE can tell us what to do.
How does this slight shift resonate in your heart right now? Where has God’s eternal provision and love for you been brought into doubt? Where have you felt the need to “take things into your own hands”? Where have you felt the desire to shun God’s sovereignty and authority over your life and do it your own way?
The good news is that, even amid our doubts, even when we give into our fears, even when we rebelliously go our own way, our eternal good and sovereign God, Yahweh Elohim, still comes looking for us! He paved a way back for us, to restore our intimate communion with Him.
“For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)
Where do you find yourself hiding in shame from God? Hear His voice calling you, beckoning you, wooing you back into a deep, intimate relationship with Him.
Today, grab a pen and paper and write out a prayer to God using ACTS to frame your prayer.
A - Begin with adoration for who God is.
C - Move on to confession – being real about where you have failed to trust God's goodness, or surrender to His loving Sovereignty.
T - Give thanks to God for all that He gives (including forgiveness for the sin you just confessed!).
S - Finish with supplication – with your prayer requests to God. When you are done, tuck this away somewhere (so you can read it later and see how God has answered your prayers).