1. God Planted a Garden"Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made." – Genesis 2:8
In the continuing creation story of the second chapter of Genesis, it states in verse 8 that “God planted a garden.” In Genesis 1:11, God spoke, and “the land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit.” In preparing a place for man to live, He didn’t build a city or a house; He built a garden which man was “to tend and watch over.” Just imagine—God planting a garden!
A look through Scripture reveals the importance of gardens. God’s Word often uses stories or illustrations of plants, trees, vineyards, ﬁelds, sowing, harvesting and bearing fruit to reveal spiritual truths (e.g., Psalm 1, Isaiah 5:1-7, John 15:1-8, Mark 4, Galatians 5:22-23, Revelation 22:1-2). God’s story, which begins in a garden in Eden, reaches a climax in a garden with a new tomb (John 19:41). It is no coincidence that it was in a garden that sin ﬁrst appeared and where sin was ultimately defeated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Have you ever planted a garden? It is very hard work. Many years ago, I decided to plant a garden in our backyard. I had a friend come and plow up the ground with his tiller, preparing it for the seeds to be planted. I called this my “Faith Garden,” because I had faith that we would reap a harvest come the fall. I also exercised faith that we would not receive a change of appointment, so that we would still be living in this location when the fruit would be ready to enjoy. (Sadly, we received farewell orders and moved to another city, leaving the garden to those who followed us.)
When I think of God planting a garden, there are certain truths that emerge. First is the preparation needed—clearing and plowing up the ground, deciding which plants will ﬂourish in this location, and then purchasing seeds. Once the planting or sowing takes place, there is the ongoing protection of the new ﬂedgling plants from bugs, animals and storms. A barrier or wall is needed to keep out unwanted visitors in addition to applying fertilizer and water as needed. Then comes the perseverance—waiting patiently for the ﬂowers to emerge on the plants which ultimately become fruit. This is accompanied by pulling out weeds and pruning the plants to foster more growth. Most important is the presence required. You can’t just plant a garden and leave it alone to produce fruit on its own.
In Genesis 2, we see the ﬁrst example of God and man working together to produce fruit. God planted, and man tended and watched over the garden (2:15). God sowed, and man enjoyed the fruit—beautiful and delicious (2:9). Chapter 3 tells us that God walked about in this garden he planted—spending time with Adam and Eve when the cool evening breezes were blowing (3:8). Although sin marred this relationship, God’s promise of His presence continues to this day.
Like the references to gardening found throughout Scripture noted above, God’s promise of presence can be found from Genesis to Revelation. The covenant with Abraham reads, “This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants” (Genesis 17:7). At the burning bush, God promised Moses, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). That promise continued for Joshua: “ … for the Lord will personally go ahead of you, He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). The promise continues, as Jesus tells his disciples, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The promise in Revelation says, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21: 3).
As we continue to explore the metaphors and illustrations of gardens, sowing and fruit in the coming months, let us covenant to spend time in His Word—walking with God in the cool evening breezes. Joshua 1:8 commands, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” As you do, watch and enjoy the fruit that will begin to grow in your garden!