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Posted: Auguast 8, 2006

     Are you familiar with Captain Penny's Law? It goes something like this: "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time; but you can't fool mom."

     Captain Penny did not originate that thought but he did much to popularize it on the Captain Penny show in the 1960's. And, though it may have been what mothers wanted their children to believe, it isn't completely correct. Captain Penny may have had good intentions but he was wrong on the last part. It might be difficult to fool mom but the only one you cannot fool is God.

     The Bible has a lot to say about fools and those who fool. In the Garden of Eden Satan fooled Eve. Second Corinthians 11:3 tells us that the Devil "beguiled Eve through his subtilty." In other words, the Devil was a con artist who literally fooled Eve through his crafty, cunning trickery.

     Adam, on the other hand, seems to have gone into the situation with his eyes wide open. The Bible does not indicate that he was fooled like Eve. Instead he apparently chose to disobey God as he willing followed after Eve and ate the forbidden fruit.

     Adam did, however, try to fool God. As soon as he realized that he and Eve were naked he took steps to cover the results of their sin. They sewed fig leaves together to make aprons, according to Genesis 3:7. However, in the next verse they apparently realized that God would not be taken in by their new found fashion sense and they hid themselves from His presence among the trees of the garden.

     God, however, was not fooled. He knew from the very beginning that Adam and Eve had disobeyed His command not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their fig leaf aprons did not fool Him. Neither did their futile attempt to hide from Him. The only ones they were fooling were themselves.

     When God called out to Adam in verse 9, "Where art thou?" it wasn't an effort on God's part to find out what was going on. God already knew. Instead, it was an opportunity for Adam to stop trying to fool God and realize that he was in reality only fooling himself.

     Adam and Eve's reactions then were much like our reactions today when God confronts us with the reality of our sin. We, like Adam and Eve, refuse to accept responsibility for our sin and try to fool God but only end up fooling ourselves.

     Remember, their first response, in verse 7, was to cover up the effect of their sin with fig leaves. We do the same thing today when we try to impress God with our good works and our giving while hoping that God will see those good things and not notice-or at least overlook-our sin. We cannot, however, hide our sin from God. As the Psalmist said, "O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. (Psalm 69:5)"

     Instead, we need to take responsibility for our sin, knowing that God is not deceived by our foolish attempts to cover it up. Otherwise, like Adam and Eve, we fool ourselves into thinking that God will be impressed with the "filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)" of our own righteousness when God wants to clothe us "with the garments of salvation…[and] with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10)."

     The second thing that Adam and Eve did was to try and hide from God among the trees of the garden. They had sinned and they knew it. Rather than go to God and confess their sin they tried to avoid God's presence. The unsaved and the backslidden do the same thing today. They feel uncomfortable in God's presence so they avoid church services, steer clear of God's people, and try to hide out amongst the trees of the world, foolishly hoping that God will not see them.

     We need to realize that "the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth. (2 Chronicles 2:9)" and "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)". Consequently, we need to say with the Psalmist, "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. (Psalms 139:7-12)"

     When God calls "Where art thou?" it isn't because He does not know where we are hiding. God knows where we are! Instead, it is an opportunity for us to stop fooling ourselves and admit our sin. Only then will we be willing to stop hiding and come to God for cleansing from sin and shame.

     Notice Adam's response when he realized that his foolish attempts to cover and hide failed to fool God. He immediately tries the pious sounding pseudo-confession. "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. (Genesis 3:10)"

     What Adam was actually saying was, "Well, yes, Lord, I did hear you. And, yes, I was hiding from you. But it was for a good reason! I am not worthy to be in your presence right now. I just have too many problems and things going on in my life. After all, I need time to think things through and coming to church would only confuse me. Besides, I don't want to be a stumbling block to someone else so I thought I'd just stay home."

     Sound familiar?

     God, knowing exactly what Adam had done confronted him directly with his sin in verse 11, just as He does with us today. Adam then responded in verse 12: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."

     He used the same excuse that we use today: "It's not MY fault!" He blamed Eve. He blamed God. He blamed everyone but himself.

     We do the same! "But you don't understand, God. It wasn't my fault. I was a victim! Circumstances were beyond my control! He/she/they made me do it! I was a deprived child! Besides, God, you made me this way/you allowed this to happen so it is really YOUR fault!"

     Eve, at least, was honest in her excuse. "And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (Genesis 3:13)" Unfortunately, her prior actions indicated that she, like Adam, was not willing to take responsibility for her sin until confronted by God. Instead of confessing her sin she tried to cover its effects and hide from God.

     It did not work for Adam. It did not work for Eve. It does not work for us. What does work is to go to God and confess your sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive [fool] ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)"

     If you think God does not exist and you can be a moral person without Him, you are only fooling yourself. You need to remember, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalms 14:1)"

     If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour and you think that God will not send you to hell because of your sin, you are only fooling yourself. Galatians 6:7-8 tells us: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

     If your are saved and think that you can you can use your freedom and liberty in Christ to do what you want, you are only fooling yourself. In fact, Paul addresses that foolish thought directly with two rhetorical questions in Romans chapter 6: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (verses 1-2)" and "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (verses 15-16)"

     Stop trying to fool God. Quit fooling yourself. Stop trying to make excuses for your sin. Trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour if you have not already. Confess your sin and get your heart right with Him if you have.

     Remember: You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, you may even fool mom, but you can't fool God!

-Pastor Al

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