By David Stahl

          Now let me start by saying I am not there — total submission, but as long as I have a heart to get there all is well with my walk with the LORD.  You know I am not sure if we will ever come into this intention of the LORD for us in this life. One of my favorite verses in the Scriptures is found in the Song of Songs.  It reads, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? (Song of Songs 8:5)  Now there is a particular quality about the one who is coming up from the wilderness that attracts special attention.  They are “leaning” upon her “Beloved.”  This position of leaning demonstrates a critical truth that must include our walk with the LORD wherein we have become completely dependent upon Him. Something has changed during their time of being in the wilderness which has resulted in them becoming totally submissive upon the LORD. Throughout Biblical history the LORD often uses the wilderness to teach and purify His servants in order to qualify them for His purposes. The wilderness speaks of a barren and desolate area, but if one looks close they will see a well watered place of God’s bounty hidden in hardships, confusion, uncertainty, and  yes even failure.  It is a place where inner needs become intensified as they seek satisfaction and there is no availability of things necessary to meet these needs.  Here needs can only be met through an internal soul searching, reflection, openness, and an utter dependence on the LORD.  In Genesis (which may be a spiritual arrangement) we read where the LORD planted a garden in Eden supplying everything that could be desired by man.  It provided an environment of both beauty and provision – complete beyond imagination. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”(Genesis 2:8-9) Adam and Eve then were placed in this garden and commanded:  “. . . of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:  17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”  (Genesis 2:16-17) This made them totally dependent as they were required to obey the word that the LORD had spoken to them. Now the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was fair game for food.  After all God did say, every tree of the garden you may freely eat” and that included the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but God added if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”  Our total submission to God always comes with choices the LORD has arranged things this way.  Strange how the LORD sets this arrangement up to measure our faithfulness. The Scriptures are full of examples where the LORD gives us choices. One is found in Deuteronomy where God sets life and death before us on which all of mankind balances.  “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;”  (Deuteronomy 30:15) God said look at life here look at death I set them both before you, now you choose.  We choose in word and in our deeds.  For Adam and Eve the only restraint to their eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the word that the LORD had commanded them that they were not to partake. This tree was in the midst of the garden.  It was very desirable and easily available to them.  Eve had observed that the fruit of this tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired (Genesis 3:6).  I wonder how Eve knew this?  Herein was Eve’s problem the fruit of this tree was very appealing.  However she knew that God had said no.  As we know the attraction was so enticing and the fruit seemingly so desirable (sounds like today) that Eve disobeyed and partook. Yes we can blame Satan to a degree for Eve’s disobedience, but Eve carried her disobedience to the next level when she gave Adam of the fruit to eat and he did. Strange the Serpent did not tempt Adam only Eve. Why then did Adam eat? Only God really knows (I was not there), but maybe Adam knew the penalty of death hanging over Eve’s head and he loved her so.  All of the other animals in the garden had a mate again I do not know, but through this act of disobedience Adam and Eve forfeited their position of total submission upon the LORD not only for them, but for all mankind.  Adam (and Eve to a certain degree) made a willful, conscience choice to eat of the fruit.  They failed to overcome their fleshly desire in the test that had been placed in their pattern of life.  As a result of this the process of death entered their being and they no longer leaned” upon Him.  Along with this they lost all that would have developed on their behalf had they been obedient and overcame in this testing.  I wonder what the Garden of Eden held for mankind and the world if Adam and Eve would have passed the first test for man.  The Scriptures are silent concerning what might have taken place in their relationship to the LORD had they chosen to remain submissive and obedient to Him.  The only clue that we have as to what might have been is to consider the outcome in the testing of Jesus in the wilderness.  Ah the wilderness again.  Jesus took upon Himself, in human form, the identity of a second Adam and then faced a test that was similar to the one that the first Adam had faced“And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry. 3And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, 4It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4)  Jesus overcame in every situation where the first Adam failed.  Jesus was an overcomer where Adam was not.  An overcomer is one who submits to the LORD and then abides in a “leaning” position upon their Beloved.  This is an indication of their complete trust in and dependence upon the LORD and  it is the result of having become obedient and submissive to the will of the Lord.  We just choose correctly as automatic as breathing.  Our becoming an overcomer means that we are rising above all that is less than the LORD’s revealed or known best.  It involves our facing the test of the wilderness and remaining dependent upon the LORD for provision.  Adam and Eve were tested concerning the possibility of their becoming overcomers, but because of the desirability and the attraction of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they choose for their own seeming good and failed to overcome.  All spiritual gain must be tested if it is to abide and become productive. Adam and Eve failed their test while abiding in a perfect environment and entered death.  Jesus  had to face a similar test in order to qualify for the place in life that Adam had forfeited. In contrast to the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden Jesus faced Satan in the barren environment of a wilderness that provided nothing. “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry.”  (Matthew 4:2)  There was nothing available that could satisfy the intense hunger that Jesus felt. Then Satan appeared to Jesus and suggested that He turn stones into bread in order to satisfy His gnawing hunger. There was nothing inherently wrong with turning these stones into bread, except that God had not said to do so.  Jesus refused to act and waited for supply from His Father.  Had Jesus exercised His Deity in order to provide for His own need He would have become independent.  He qualified by remaining in a place of total dependence upon His Father for provision. This was exactly where Adam and Eve failed.  The sin of Adam and EVE was not eating the fruit, oh no even when we sin it is not the act, but the intention of our heart.  Sin is to miss the mark, to know right, but do wrong, to do that which God said not to do.   The sin of Adam and Eve (especially Adam) was they thought they could be independent from God and do as they felt best. They could decide for themselves what was right or wrong.  Jesus confirmed His complete dependence upon God when He said:  “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of  God.”  (Matthew 4:4) Jesus refused to act apart from a word from the LORD and came forth from the wilderness in the “power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).  Power in God comes by allowing God to work in our lives helping us to make right choices. We also will be tested, as Jesus was “if” we desire to come into a relationship of  total submission.  Those who choose to abide in this position of will then be led by the Holy Spirit into a specially prepared wilderness where we will develop a deep inner hunger (maybe even a dissatisfaction) along with an intense desire (even a frustration) in some area of our being.  Then at a critical moment when it seems to us that the LORD is no longer interested in our problem and He is delaying His answer the enemy will be allowed (like with the Serpent) to come and tempt us.  He will try to provoke us to act in some way to produce or to bring about the satisfaction that we desperately long for which is presently apart from the LORD’s provision for us.  If we will steadfastly refuse this temptation and stand fast, in due time, the LORD will feed us.  If we will be patient during our times of being tested and wait for the LORD’s provision for us then it can truly be said:  “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.”(1Corinthians 2:9)  Maybe even some of the things in the Garden of Eden God intended for Adam before his disobedience. The first Adam failed and lost his place or position as an overcomer.  This was regained by Jesus who overcame as the last Adam and now we too can become an overcomer. Jesus was faithful in maintaining His place of dependence.  There is no greater joy than that which comes from making a determined choice to become dependent upon the LORD and then to faithfully abide in this newfound place of total submission until the greater day comes.  Now we can no longer blame Adam, Eve, or even Satan for us not coming to total submission to the LORD.  He is waiting.