“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Don’t Eat of the Tree
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 3 verses 1-7
In Genesis 2:15-17, God took Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. He gave him a commandment that he could freely eat of every tree of the garden, but not of the tree of good and evil because, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. 4 But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apronlike girdles. Genesis 3:1-7 AMP
1. Have you ever wondered why God would put a tree in the Garden if He did not want Adam and Eve and their kids to eat the fruit of it?
a. God made us to be stewards of all that He has given us and all that He has placed on the earth.
b. However, He always sets something aside, keeping it for Himself, and tells us not to eat of it. It’s Holy; it belongs to God alone.
c. It’s all about obedience and the free will of man. God gave us a free will so we could choose to obey. Obedience pleases God.
2. This is what Satan used to tempt Eve and cause her to sin. His plan was to get her to eat of that which was under their stewardship, but was not to be touched.
a. They could eat of every tree—including the tree of life, but they were not allowed to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and of Evil. God told them, “the day that you eat of the tree in dying thou shalt die.” They would die spiritually (be cut off from God) and then die physically.
b. The scripture declares that if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19). The devil knows that the only way that he can trap us is to get us moving in the direction of disobedience and against God’s Word.
3. In this day and this age, there is still a tree that is Holy, and it belongs to God. It is called the Tithe.
a. It is tempting to someone, who has not been taught how Holy the tree (tithe) is, to want to eat it.
b. To eat the tithe tree is to use the tithe for your personal use.
c. The tithe is Holy. Don’t eat that which belongs to God. Set it aside and bring it to the altar of worship where you are fed the Word of God.
d. Giving it as an act of worship as a first fruit to the Lord.
4. Many of those who have eaten from the tithe tree are now barren and naked and suffer lack. They have removed themselves from God’s protection.
Pastor Adonica’s thoughts:
From the time I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, at the age of 17, I was taught about tithing. I fell in love with Jesus and fully committed to Him. I worked for my father at the time and when I received my monthly pay of 175 South African Rands, I immediately set aside my tithe, rounding it up to R20, and then sowed it into the offering the very next church service I attended. This became a committed habit for me, as it did for Rodney, and as God blessed and increased us, we continued to tithe on everything we earned. It is not a difficult thing to do because we committed to do it a long time ago and we would not dream of using the tithe for anything else. As a result, we expect—and receive—God’s blessing and favor on our lives and He has never let us down!
Pastor Rodney’s thoughts:
I can remember, as a child, being taught the principle of the tithe. I would tithe on my allowance. I would also tithe on the income I earned as a child working at whatever job I could find during school vacations. I knew that I wanted to do my part and sow seed into the Gospel. When we first arrived in America we heard that 20% of the body of Christ tithed. Apparently, the current statistic is that 6% actually tithe! This means that 94% spend their time eating of the tithe tree that is Holy and yet they wonder why they struggle financially and are unprotected—naked and barren.
I so desire God’s people to be blessed! God so desires to bless and increase all of our lives! Even though He has a strong desire to bless you, His hands are tied when you eat that which does not belong to you. Don’t forget—the tithe is the Lord’s! You are stewards over the tithe—don’t eat it—set it aside as Holy unto the Lord and allow the blessing of God to transform your life and overtake you from every side!
Prayer and Confession:
Father, I worship you with that which has been set apart for You—the tithe—it is Yours and I honor you with it and thank you that I will never be naked or barren or ashamed, and Your provision and protection will be upon me, all the days of my life.