And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the graden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
We all have it, you know—an appetite for temptation, that is. Some may have a well-developed version, by means of practice; but all of us salivate to some extent when we’re faced with a “forbidden fruit.” For example, although I am fairly sure the late night and early morning head congestion that plagues me, is only exacerbated by the dairy products I consume, I still find myself inordinately drawn to ice cream, yogurt, and cheese, etc. This is a physical manifestation of a spiritual truth.
Our flesh is the traitor within that’s in league with our mortal enemy.
Why would God plant a restricted tree in an otherwise unrestricted garden? You may well ask. But any answer to this question would only be speculation, because, as He reminded Job, we weren’t there (Job 38:4), and, anyway, when it comes to things like motivation and eternal purpose, we just don’t think like God (Isa.55:8). But one thing is for sure; not only did its presence in the Garden serve as a spiritual stethoscope for God, it also gave Adam and Eve a window into the perverseness of their own hearts. To have every kind of tree readily available to them and yet not be content until the one and only restriction has been breached, gives us some idea of the power of the sinful nature we inherited from this pair.
You and I may be naïve enough to think we would have responded differently to the infamous “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”; and, if so, we have ample opportunity to try to prove it. But we should always acknowledge the sinful appetite passed down from our original parents, while at the same time realizing we don’t have to take a bite of every temptation with which we are confronted. This is especially true since you and I have the advantage of a heavenly “appetite suppressant”—the blessed Holy Spirit! And think of this way: every time we choose not to indulge our unholy appetites, we are saying to God, “I love you more.”