Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Genesis 2:8-17

Good morning, gang!

Today’s verses describe the Garden of Eden, the environment in which man was placed, and the charge and the commandment that God gave to Adam in regards to this place.

As to the location and environment, we don’t know the location of the Pishon and Haviah Rivers mentioned here, but we do know where the Tigris and Euphrates are: they meet and flow through Iraq. We know that the original environment had all the best possible food that man could eat and direct fellowship with God.

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (verses 8-9,15-17))

So God gave Adam a charge to care for this garden. It was a pleasurable job, because prior to the fall there would have been no thorns and thistles, so no weeding to do. We’ve already noted that it was self-watering! Jon Courson says that Adam would have gardened not just as a vocation, but for recreation. However, we see that God also gave him a specific command regarding the trees in the garden: he could eat from ANY of them, EXCEPT the one tree - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was right next to the tree of life. And don’t we all know that the minute you tell someone they can’t do something, it’s the first thing they want to do [“Wet Paint - Do Not Touch”]? You might be asking, “Why did God set them up for failure, by putting these two trees, including the forbidden tree, smack dab in the middle of the garden?”
Well, God did not want a meaningless relationship with robots. He wanted man to CHOOSE to have a relationship with Him. This required that man would have free choice - and choice means that there actually has to be something from which to choose! He did not trick or tempt Adam - He was very specific in the warning about what the choice to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would mean in consequences: he would DIE! It would result in immediate separation from God, spiritual death as well as eventual physical death.
Some wonder why it’s so bad to know good and evil. It wasn’t knowing right from wrong. Surely God wants us to know the difference, and has given us His Word to make these things clear to us. Instead, it was wanting a knowledge equal to God’s (we’ll see this next week in chapter 3), and it represented a defiance of God.

When God sets up such a command - “Do NOT...” it is NOT because He’s the God of no fun! He isn’t trying to DENY us anything - He is trying to protect us, because He loves us so. What kind of parent sets no parameters for his children? A rotten parent! As a teacher, I see daily the ramifications of allowing children to do whatever they want to do.
Where in your life are you resenting God’s commands for you? What has He explicitly commanded you NOT to do (or DO) that you are resisting? It’s not that we don’t know what He expects of us. His Word is very clear on most issues we are facing. It’s that we don’t want anyone, including God, interfering with our own plans and pleasures! But God is asking us to get serious with Him. Choose to obey! The other choice leads to death - death of your marriage, death of your relationships with others, death of your relationship with God.
Choose life! Have a great morning!

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