Greetings MOL Family!
I love our memory text. It is a wonderful text that points us to the place of refuge; of security. Have you committed it to memory as yet?
Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a Man shall be as an hiding place from the wind. – Isaiah 32:1-2
Oh yes, have you found this hiding place? Who is this Man? Jesus. Thank God, the Rock of Ages. And He’s a what? A hiding place.
I told you about that man, that scientist who, as the atom bomb began to spread fear over the world, wrote the book entitled No Place to Hide. He didn’t know this text. He didn’t know this Man. Friends, you and I have nothing to fear if we’re hid in Him. We have everything to fear if we’re not, for the winds are blowing. Every wind is blowing. From all directions the winds are blowing and will increase.
Beware of the Poisonous, Forbidden Fruit
Well, we’ve been studying some of these death-dealing, terror-arousing winds – the tornados and the hurricanes, the dust storms, and all the rest. But today, we have quite a different type of wind to study. This wind doesn’t howl like the hurricane. It doesn’t tear things up like the tornado. It doesn’t freeze things like the icy winds. No, no. This is a perfume-laden breeze, and it blows from the gardens of forbidden pleasure, inviting to partake of poisonous fruit.
Let’s read an interesting statement from Volume 5 of the Testimonies. This sentence has been making quite an impression upon my mind:
Every tree in Satan’s garden is hung with tempting, poisonous fruit, and a woe is pronounced upon everyone who plucks and eats. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, pg. 599
Does satan have a garden? Evidently. Yes, he has a garden, my friends. Are there trees in it: flowers, fruit? Oh, yes. And every tree in that garden is hung with tempting fruit, but it’s what kind of fruit? Poisonous fruit.
Have you ever gone through an apple orchard in the spring, or perhaps even by it, and smelled that delicious perfume of the apple blossoms? And don’t you love the aroma, the characteristic odor of those apples in the fall, when they’re all ripe? Yes.
You know, the Lord made the sense of smell, and He made literally thousands of things for us to enjoy through the sense of smell. Much of what we call flavor in foods is provided through the nerves of smell. Someone has said that flavor is a combination of taste and smell. I think that’s a pretty good definition.
My point is, when God made a garden back there in Eden, He filled it with all kinds of trees that appealed not only to the sight. They were beautiful, but they were good for food.
Now, interestingly enough, in that garden there was one tree of forbidden fruit. Even in God’s garden, there was a tree of forbidden fruit. In satan’s garden that we just read about, every tree in it is forbidden fruit. But way back there in the Garden of Eden, God let satan have one tree. And he took possession of it. He spoke there. He gave a radio broadcast there and somebody listened.
Let’s go back to Genesis 3, and I want you to see something interesting about this tree and about this fruit:
…The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise… – Genesis 3:6
It was beautiful fruit. It doubtless tasted very delicious (I’m assuming, friends, the text doesn’t say; but I think you’ll agree with me), but there was doubtless a wonderful aroma that came from it. The woman was enticed. She was allured. She was captivated, partially through the fruit and partially through the promises that the wise serpent made of what would be the result of eating of this fruit.
Now, I want to let you into a secret in case you don’t know it already. Do you know what the greatest enticement about that fruit was? Now, I want you to stop and think about it a minute. Did it have delicious flavor? Undoubtedly, but were there a hundred other trees in the garden that did? Yes.
And, as we are assuming, it must have had a wonderful smell, a wonderful aroma. But the other trees – God must have just filled this tree with one kind, this tree with another, and this tree with another. And you can think of the perfume of the different flowers all through the garden. The woman certainly didn’t lack for delicious fruit and perfumed breezes, blowing from those fragrant honeysuckle, and roses, and sweet peas, and carnations, and jasmines, and all the rest of the wonderful flowers there in the Garden of Eden.
But do you know there was something special about this tree that had an allurement and an enticement about it that all the other trees lacked? Are you thinking through with me what it was that this tree had that none of the others had? What was it? It was forbidden. That’s the point. It was forbidden. Were any of the other trees forbidden? Not a one. That’s what this second verse says:
The woman said…We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. – Genesis 3:2
And go back to the second chapter:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. – Genesis 2:16
Every one. And then the next word is what? “But.” But of this tree, this one tree, you must not eat of it. So I say, this tree had an allurement about it, an enticement about it, that none of the other trees had – delicious fruit, wonderful aroma, and oh, it was what? Forbidden. Ah, what did that mean? That meant there must be something wonderful in that. There must be something more wonderful in that tree than in all these other trees. Why? Why would He let you have this one and this one and this and this one, but not this one? There must be something in it that is really good.
Now who suggested all that? satan. Through what? Through the serpent. And where was the serpent? In the tree. Did it work? Did the plan succeed? Was the woman enticed? This was the thing that did it.
Now, I want to tell you something: satan has learned a good deal in 6,000 years, but he hasn’t forgotten anything that he’s ever learned that has worked. And this worked so well that he’s been using it over, and over, and over again.
Inspired… But By Whom?
Let’s turn to Proverbs 9. We’ll see the echo of this 3,000 years, this side of the Garden of Eden. Here is the enticement of the forbidden, the lure of that which is withheld:
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. – Proverbs 9:17
Now, God didn’t say this. It has the same inspiration that this voice back here in Genesis 3 had. Somebody says, “Well, isn’t it in the Bible?” Yes, Genesis 3 is in the Bible. Genesis 3 is an inspired account of what the devil said through the serpent. And Proverbs 9 and the closing words are an inspired account of what somebody says who is leading people to hell. That’s what the 18th verse says. Perhaps we ought to read back from the 13th verse so you get the setting:
A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell. – Proverbs 9:13-18
Tell me, friends, what did God tell Adam and Eve would be the result of their eating of that forbidden tree? Death would be the result. Is that what this says? Oh, yes. The reason that God has forbidden some things is because they lead to death instead of life, and He wants us to have life. The reason that some things are forbidden things is that, in the end, they bring pain instead of pleasure, sorrow instead of joy, disappointment instead of satisfaction.
But the devil twists all that around and turns it around and says, “So you can’t do everything?” No. “I wonder why. I wonder why God said, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ Trying to keep you out of some pleasure, isn’t He? Trying to keep you out of some fun.” That’s what this foolish woman says. She calls passengers who are going right on their way. She says to them:
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. – Proverbs 9:17
That lure is just as effective today, my friends, as it was 6,000 years ago – the lure of the forbidden, the enticement of holding up that which is outside the law, against the law, contrary to the rules, and saying, “I wonder why they won’t let you do this or that, or the other thing. They’re just trying to keep you from having a good time. Come, I’ll show you. We’ll really have a wonderful time. A wonderful time.” Ah, friends, that God may help us to escape from this allurement!
Now, I’d like to have us turn to the Song of Solomon. This is just a few more pages to the right from Proverbs. And I want you to see something interesting here. You know the Song of Solomon is an inspired love song. Most of the love songs in this world are inspired by a sentimental, romantic state of mind that is fictitious, unreal, and those who are lulled and enticed with that romantic, love-sick sentimentalism sooner or later wake up to the realities of life.
Many years ago, long before our time, there was a popular song: “I picked a lemon in the garden of love where only peaches grow.” I know the world laughs at that, but friends, I don’t. I feel sorry. When I think of what a wonderful experience true love can be, what a wonderful experience true love is, I feel sorry for anybody who’s picked a lemon. I do. My heart goes out to them in pity.
Lord Byron, one of England’s greatest writers, and also one of the most vile and licentious men of his time, at the age of 36 penned these words:
“My days are in the yellow leaf. The flower and fruit of love is gone. The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone.” – Lord Byron
Think of it! Only 36 years and already he was cynical. He had drained to the last drop the cup of love as he found it. And already, friends, he was disappointed, disillusioned. That’s the way the world deals. That’s the way the serpent deals.
But I come back to this Song of Solomon. I say to you, this Song of Solomon is an inspired love song of true love. Now, I know that this is taken in symbolism to represent the love between Christ and His church, and this is true. But, my dear friends, the reason that Jesus takes it as the symbol of the union between Him and His church is that it represents a true, real, glorious, happy experience between a man and a woman in this world who are called, in God’s plan, to the sweet experiences of love in marriage.
In Song of Solomon 4:16, we have all this love, all this joy, all the mystery of love between husband and wife, represented in this figure of the garden:
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. – Song of Solomon 4:16
Yes, friends, there are joys and delights in true love that only God could originate and that only God can make possible. But this strange woman of Proverbs that we just read about is saying to the passersby, “Come and I will give you the fruits of love. Come and I will give you the sweets of love.”
Going back to Proverbs, I want us to see how it’s worded there. We were looking in the 9th chapter; let’s go back now to the 7th chapter. Solomon says:
For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot… – Proverbs 7:6-10
What does ‘attire’ mean? Dress. You mean the harlots dressed in a way that Solomon could tell who was one and who was not? I wonder what he’d do today. I wonder what he’d say.
Before I pass on, I’ll just have to comment this. He does not say this woman was one, but he said she was dressed like one. As you’ll see, she acted like one:
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning… – Proverbs 7:10-18
Oh, what an invitation, what an enticement! Here, indeed, are the perfume-laden breezes blowing from the gardens of forbidden fruit. Now notice what the 27th verse says:
Her house is the way to hell… – Proverbs 7:27
Pretty plain talk, isn’t it?
Her house is the way to hell… – Ibid
For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. – Proverbs 7:26
Sisters [and even Brothers], I ask you very plainly, as God’s ambassador, who are you dressing to please? For whom are you fixing up your hair? Who are you trying to catch? Married or single, old or young…
Tell God. Answer to your own heart.
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.