Sunday, February 16, 2014


And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And theLord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it youshall surely die.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:8-25 (ESV)

In the beginning, God created a garden for man to live and have his being. That garden is called Eden. God made Eden a place where man and woman could live in harmony with God and one another. In this garden there were two special trees that grew. The first is the tree of life. We see this tree referenced in other passages of scripture, particularly in Revelation 22:2,14,19. This tree of life brings to man God's gift of eternal life.

The second tree is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God forbade Adam and Eve to eat of this tree, warning them that if they ate of it, they would surely die. Man was originally created with free will and it is at this tree that man's obedience and worship towards God was tested.

Seeing that it was not good for man to be alone, God created him a helper, Eve. God used the rib of Adam to create her and together they became one flesh. This is still true today for husbands and wives. When they join together in the union of marriage they are considered one.

Lastly, we see that Adam and Eve were both naked and unashamed. This is because they had yet to sin. They had no selfish desire within them and knew not the lusts of the flesh.

The way this chapter ends is in a state of perfection. Adam and Eve have a home which is filled with all that they need. They have the tree of life to sustain them forever. They have the freedom of the will to be obedient to God. They have each other, perfect mates. They are also in perfect relationship with God. They are not filled with shame, because they are innocent.

One only has to read the next chapter to find out that all this will go away because of sin. Today we find ourselves in a state opposite of this one. We feel the shame of our sin. We have been found guilty. This is why we wear clothes. We need to cover up our shame. But clothes are not enough. We need something more.

Our relationships are broken and messy. We desire not to be the perfect helpmate for another, but we look to our own needs first. We want others to fulfill them for us. These are the lusts of the flesh which fill our hearts and thoughts. Yet, the more we use others to fulfill our wicked lusts, the more unfulfilled we feel. Our guilt grows daily.

Worse yet, our relationship with God is as an enemy. We are no longer able to choose God freely. We have been born into sin and sinners are who we are. Sin has become our master and we obediently follow wickedness. We try to do good deeds to make ourselves feel better, but even the best of what we do is like a polluted garment.

The tree of life has been taken from us. We have become cursed and death follows us closely. Try as we might to sustain our lives, we all fall short and once again become the dust of the earth.

What hope do we have? Where can we look for help? Who will rescue us?

There is a tree where you can find salvation. Jesus hung on a tree to take away the curse that has overrun you. (Galatians 3:13) The cross is your tree of life. It is on this tree that you need to place your faith.

It is from this tree that you can once again find freedom. No longer do you have to be in bondage to sin, but Jesus gives you the freedom to obey God's commands. God will be your new master as He guides you with His Holy Spirit. (1 Peter 1:2)

Your relationship with God will no longer be that of an enemy. Rather you will be at peace with God. He will adopt you into His family. He will be your Father and you will be His child. (Ephesians 1:5)

No longer will you be filled with shame, but God will clothe you in His righteousness. You can hold you head up high, not because of anything you have done, but because the work of Christ will be your adornment. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus takes away your sins through His death on the cross.

Finally, there will come a time when Eden will be restored. You will have a home with God in the new heavens and new earth. Sin will be no more, along with it suffering and death. All creation will praise God's name for they will be witnesses to His glory. (Revelation 21)

Look to this tree!  Look to the cross! There you will find life. There you will find freedom. There you will find peace. There your sins will be swept away.

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