Genesis 3:9-12 Learning to Say “Help” and “Thank You”

wilburnsquareforsocialmedia9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

In Genesis chapter three we see a dramatic change in the relationship between God and man. Given the choice between obeying the Lord’s command of not eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:15–17) or choosing to make their own decisions, Adam and Eve both chose to rebel (Genesis 3:6).

Friday we saw how shame immediately filled their heart that caused Adam and Eve to hide from the Lord (Genesis 3:7–8) [1]. Amazingly instead of calling them out for hiding from Him (God could obviously see them behind the tree) asked Adam where he was (Genesis 3:9).

Why would God do that? Because He wanted Adam and Eve to confess their sin willingly instead of being forced to do it.

God like every parent knows there is a big difference between a child who comes immediately after breaking the lamp and apologizes for doing it, and the child who only confesses after the lamps remnants have been discovered underneath their bed. So He gives Adam a chance to confess what had happened.

But this kind of confession involves much more than just saying sorry:

  1. It involves a confession (truth-telling) about that specific sin without excuses [2]
  2. It involves admitting weakness that sin may reveal [3]
  3. It involves “repentance” which literally means turning away from that sin so it doesn’t become a habit
  4. And within repentance we must ask God for help, admitting we cannot survive the Christian life in our own strength

If you will allow me to simplify all of this…God wanted Adam to admit he needed help.

Instead of admitting his weakness Adam gave a partial confession telling God that “he hid because he was scared” without explaining why. The Lord responded with the pointed question “did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?” which gives a great opportunity for Adam to confess.

All he had to do was say yes, and embrace the truth that was painfully clear (they needed God’s help).

But instead he does something much worse.

Lets read Genesis 3:12 again and ask the question “who did Adam blame?”

3:12  The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

If after reading this you think Adam is blaming Eve sorry, but your wrong.

Lets look at it again shall we?

3:12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (emphasis added)

Did you see it?

Adam doesn’t blame Eve, he blames God!

Think about that for a minute. Instead of being a man and taking ownership for his mistake Adam says “well if you hadn’t given me Eve in the first place everything would be fine!”

Now we can blame Adam all we want but the truth is it’s still hard for us to confess sin and weakness to God (or anyone else for that matter). Oh we won’t go out and blame God directly for the temptation, but have found a much more subtle form of rebellion.

Dr. Ed Welch in his book Shame Interrupted makes a huge point about the words “help” and “thank you” no longer being a part of our daily conversation.  The reason for this is both of them share a weakness or inability to survive on our own.

But he shows this is exactly what God wants to happen when shame or embarrassment over sin [4] comes into our lives instead of trying to hide it (Genesis 3:7-8) or refusing to admit it (Genesis 3:9-12). In this way it becomes a form of worship (takes our eyes of ourselves and back on God, off our circumstances and back on His character).

  1. “Help” is one of the most human responses we can have. It is the essence of faith. It is the essence of prayer. It is also a direct assault on shame’s tendencies to hide and self-protect.
  2. “Help” is the first thing we say to the Lord. “Thank you” is the second. Then we say them again and again.
  3. Pray “Help.” Pray “Thank you.” Confess the ways you have dishonored him. Enjoy obedience.

Dr. Welch is pointing out this is the way it should be. Mankind (the creation) continually coming to the creator (God) and crying out for help [5]. I’m not saying this is an easy thing (trust me I know) however when we have learned to say help and thank you to God, an amazing thing starts to happen.

That shame that completely controlled our lives (Genesis 3:7–8) loses it’s power.

Now we view shame and embarrassment about sin and weakness as an opportunity to worship God (after experiencing His forgiveness). As the burden of that rebellion is taken off, now we can display confidence in our relationship with others instead of trying to cover up every weakness with fig-leaves (3:7–8).

Dr. Welch explains it this way:

No longer does failure, sin, or victimization keep them in shame’s purgatory. For them “Help” is becoming the language of the kingdom rather than the language of darkness and shame.

Every once in a while I will go through what I call a “funk” but it’s actually a really mild form of depression. When going through a funk my mind and heart will only focus on the bad things happening in life instead of all the good God brings which makes them sin.

Usually my response to a funk involves way too much Netflix, french fries, and tons of junk food (easier than asking God for help).

Last Thursday while going through a funk though I took a long walk instead and talked with the Lord about the struggle in my heart while asking Him for help. The discouragement didn’t go away right away, but on Friday I was able to use it as part of a blog post on what the Lord’s teaching me about faith.

So confessing my weakness and asking for God help opened the door to confessing that weakness towards others for His glory.

Again I’m not saying that it’s easy to confess our sin to God. But when the word “help” becomes a part of our daily lives it will change the way we view that weakness.


  1. http://wilburninmelbourne.com/2015/07/theproblemwithfigleaves/  ↩
  2. we ate the fruit that you told us not to eat  ↩
  3. we aren’t strong enough to withstand Satan’s temptation  ↩
  4. inability to obey God’s Commands  ↩
  5. this isn’t just about confession of sin, but a normal response to every challenge of life  ↩

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