Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Take Man Out of the Garden When He Could Have Removed the Tree?

Sin is the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving. It’s the gift that you wish wouldn’t keep giving, but it does. It’s kind of like dirty laundry at my house. Just when I think I’m done…I’m not. The repercussions of sin have a rippling effect. The first sin affected the serpent, Eve, Adam, the ground, and generations to come.

The icing on the cake is when God has to push them out of the nest, so to speak. This is the world you wanted; this is the world you shall have. Strange how what we want seems to change when we finally get a good dose of what is coming to us.

God said Adam and Eve “has now become like one of us” (Genesis 3:22 NIV). “Us” meaning the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son (who is the Word – John 1:1), and God the Holy Spirit. Notice God didn’t say Adam and Eve were now one of them. Man will never attain the stature of God. Man will never achieve the perfection of God. Man will never be God…even though God became man (Praise the Lord!).

So they banished man from the Garden of Eden because they did not want man eating from the tree of life and live forever. God placed an angel and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way. I believe some would call this “tough love.” After all, God could have simply uprooted the tree and removed it from Eden, but instead, in His wisdom, God chose to remove man. Kicking man out of the garden was like putting the period at the end of the sentence.

I’ve never had to kick one of my kids out of the house, but I can only imagine how heart breaking, painful and stressful that must be on everyone involved. And God knows exactly how that feels. He provided everything for His children, and they blew it. The thing is God still loved them. He still wanted a relationship with them, and He made it work.

Why were there an angel and a flaming sword only at the east entrance? I don’t have a clue. Maybe there were rivers to the North, South and West. Maybe Adam and Eve didn’t know of any other way into the garden? I just don’t know. But to see that angel and to see that flaming sword moving back and forth without the assistance of the angel must have been a disheartening sight for Adam and Eve.

There are times when we as parents have to discipline our children against things of this world, against things that lead to other things, and against principalities. They don’t always understand why we have to discipline or be harsh to make a point, but that is because they don’t see the whole picture. They don’t know about all the evil in the world from which we are protecting them. We have to teach our children to trust us. Trust our judgment. Trust our wisdom.

God is the same way. We don’t always understand God’s ways or why He allows something to happen. Isaiah 55:8-9 are verses I have to remind myself of on more than one occasion, “ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ ”(NIV). We only see part of the picture or puzzle where as God was the puzzle-maker or photographer. 1 Corinthians 13:12 puts it likes this, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face…”

Whatever you are going through – if you are walking through a dark time, if you are being disciplined by God, if you are enduring something beyond your control – you must trust that God knows. He knew what was outside of Eden, and He prepared Adam and Eve by covering them and telling them what was going to happen. He knows what is happening with you and He has prepared the way. Believe it or not, He has been preparing you because today you are not where you were three years ago. He has been preparing the people who will be there to support you and encourage you.

Let me say this though, when we screw things up and make mistakes there are consequences. Don’t expect God to make it work out for your good. Adam and Eve loved God, but they still had to deal with the consequences, and so must you.

You know, Eve may have been created to be the ideal wife, but she became like us…flawed, imperfect and in need of redemption. I am so thankful I don’t have to live up to the concept of an “ideal” wife. It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only wife on the face of the planet who struggles and fails and has to get back up again, and you aren’t either.

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