Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It all Started in a Garden: Wednesday Devotion

Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17 NLT

8 Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. 9 The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

15 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

Adam the Gardener

There is so much here. First God told man to tend and keep the garden. It was man's first job to be a gardener. Oh but there is more, so much more.

God placed man in the garden before He created woman. Adam was surrounded by so much beauty but something was still missing. God brought all of the animals before Adam to see what he would name them. I am sure this took a while. Then God created woman.

I have tried to imagine what life would have been like in the Garden. Sleeping when we get tired. Waking when we were refreshed. Selecting anything we wanted to eat and then planting the seeds of what we had just eaten. The beauty would have been unspeakable.

Paradise and a Soul Mate Too

Genesis 2:21-23 NASV

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Now imagine the most beautiful place you have ever seen and multiply that by, oh I don't know, say 1000. For us today the beauty would have been breathtaking. Now think about being in a place like that with your true soul mate. 

This was the very first family. Adam and Eve only had three commands: 1) Be fruitful and multiply 2) Take care of the garden and 3) Don't eat from one tree, the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
I want to pause here for just one moment. Man and woman's first command was to be fruitful and multiply, with this in mind where did God place them? Yup, he placed them in a garden, not in the mountains, not by the sea, He didn't even create them a village to help them get a jump start. He placed them in a garden. Why do you think He did this. I think we find at least part of the reason here.

God Loves a Garden

Genesis 3:8 NASV

8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

God created man for friendship, not servitude. God placed man in a garden because God loves a garden. This scripture occurs after man has sinned by eating of the only forbidden plant in the entire garden.
I believe God walked through the garden in the cool of the day fairly often. I don't think man and woman were surprised that God was walking in the garden. Cool of the day has also been translated "breezy time of the evening".

I must be fair at this point and state that some commentaries say that God was not out for an evening stroll, but was coming in judgment. However many of those same commentaries point out that Adam and Eve hid not because they were afraid but because they were naked.

Again I want to point out that man and woman only had three commands and they have already broken one of those. I don't know how long they were in the garden together communing with God and each other, but I hope it was a good long time. I hope it was, but I doubt it. 

The Blame Game

Genesis 3: 8 - 13 NIV

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Does this exchange really sound like God was coming in a storm of vengeful judgement? Not to me. This sounds more like a caring parent or a close friend showing concern. 

God started calling "Where are you?". To me this means that God and man probably had regular walks through the garden. God already knew what was done, He didn't have to be told, but I believe He was giving Adam and Eve an opportunity to come clean, who knows maybe the curse wouldn't have been so bad. We will never know.

vs 10 I hid because I was naked. I find this very interesting. They had always been naked, in fact before God we are still all naked. They hid because they were ashamed and we as a people have been hiding from God ever since.

Now, I am probably going to offend a few folks. I don't mean to, but this is the way I see this scripture. God went to Adam first. He asked "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?". Oh, if he had only had a backbone and said yes. He did eat from the tree that God had forbidden. He knew the fruit was from that tree. Eve did not force feed him. He wasn't even deceived. Adam committed open rebellion. He made a conscience decision to disobey God. 

How did Adam respond? He blamed his wife. I know this isn't popular anymore. I also know that the reason this isn't popular is because so many men wouldn't take the job, but the man was supposed to be the spiritual leader of the household. Women had to take over because too many men were just too lazy or too unconcerned to do their job. 

I can hear it now there are some guys and gals that are screaming "Preach on Brother!" and there are some of both that probably just decided they would never read another word I write. The thing is man was supposed to be the leader, not the master. Guys, if you have your soul mate, you have the most priceless gift that could ever be experienced on this earth. Ladies, if you have a man that treats you like you are supposed to be treated you will never feel dominated. Adam should have taken responsibility for his own actions, instead he passed the buck on to his wife. 

Eve told the truth, kinda. The serpent did put the thought in her mind or at least give the thought words. 

Genesis 3: 2 - 3 NIV

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

I have read this story over and over and I cannot find where God said not to touch the tree of knowledge. Why did she add that to her response? 

Genesis 3: 6 

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

See, Adam was with her the whole time. Why didn't Adam step in? Why didn't he run the serpent off? Why didn't he do anything? All of the beauty, all of the perfection, all of the peace, everything was thrown away to learn that we were naked. 

Ever since the fall of man we have tried to recreate the beauty of the Garden of Eden. There have been some beautiful gardens, but nothing will ever come close. From this point on we will find that the garden can truly be a spiritual place, in fact Jesus went to a garden himself to pray. There are many lessons to be learned from the soil and from nature.

I hope you are enjoying the Wednesday Devotions.

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