Recently, at Glyndley Manor, we’ve been allowing the four resident chickens out of the safety of their ark and giving them the run of the grounds. At first all went well. They loved the freedom. They wandered around as a little gang, scratching and pecking far and wide over the distant reaches of the lakeside and the shrubbery. But alas it all went wrong. Finally they discovered the flower beds in the formal garden with their oh-so-delicious looking begonias, and they fell into temptation. They looked so good to eat that the gardens were soon unrecognizable. So the chickens have been banished from the garden!
I couldn’t help but think of this verse from Genesis as they were unceremoniously caught and moved out of the garden and into the outer field - a field completely surrounded with a good fence so they couldn’t get back into the garden to do more harm. However there is one very significant difference between my chicken story and the Genesis account. Motive!
Our motive was clear – we banished them for our good. We wanted the garden to stay the way we had designed it to be so they had to go…and not come back. However the Bible tells us that God’s motive for sending mankind out of the Garden of Eden was not for His benefit, or because of revenge, but for the benefit of those He had created and loved – mankind. Genesis 3:22 says ‘And now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…’
The tree of life had been freely available to us but now it was a danger. His reason for banishing us was to keep us from taking, for ourselves, the fruit of eternal life. This would have meant a life locked for ever in our fallen state and therefore eternally cut off from Him.
It’s very clear in my Bible that this is an unfinished sentence. It’s as if the rest of the Scripture is God’s answer to this dire situation that mankind has got himself into. God grieves for our loss. He Himself desires to feed us with the fruit of eternal life, but we need to be released from the grip of sin and death.
In our fallen state we now live outside the perfect safety of God’s garden. Jesus said ‘in this world you will have trouble’ (John 16:33) and we will all have to die physically. But for those who have accepted God’s gracious gift of His Son, our Lord Jesus, as their Saviour, death will be the great release into the fullness of spiritual, eternal life. We will be with God in His ‘garden’ paradise in heaven and eternally with Him.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that after mankind sinned You didn’t give up on us, but made a way for us to regain what we had lost. Forgive us if we have misunderstood Your ways and misread Your motives for putting mankind out of the Garden of Eden. Thank You for the wonderful truth that, because of the death of Jesus our Saviour, we can be fed by You with the fruit of the tree of life, and live for ever in Your heavenly ‘garden’ home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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