Anyone who knows me knows that I have very little interest in gardening. I do, however, like looking at gardens, reaping the benefits of other people’s work! A few years ago I visited Alnwick Gardens, which were absolutely wonderful:
Ralph preached last night on three different gardens, mentioned in the Bible:
(1) The Garden of Eden (Gen 1-3)
This garden, prepared by God the Creator, was paradise for Adam and Eve, filled with trees bearing lovely fruit and flowers blending their hue. Adam and Eve knew unclouded communion with God in this garden, where there was no taint of sin, no shadow of death. However, God gave man free will and they chose to disobey His command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, with the result that paradise was marred.
Ralph highlighted the 4 steps that led to them committing sin:
a) Satan drew Eve’s attention to the tree, causing her to look at something with different eyes
b) She kept her attention there, giving the tree undue consideration
c) She took of the forbidden fruit, allowing herself gratification
d) Gratification led to humiliation, for guilt always follows sin.
Adam and Eve then tried to hide from God, but we can never hide from Him. Adam saw evil thing as a result of his disobedience and he and Eve were banished from the wonderful garden.
(2) The Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46)
The first Adam failed in a garden, but the second Adam won victory in the garden. Jesus knew agony and betrayal and wrestled with temptation in this garden, but took the cup of salvation (Ps 116:13), wherein he saw:
a) that he had to go to the cross, for this was the price for our salvation
b) that he would be able to unite all believers together through His sacrifice (even though he sweat drops of blood in agony as he wrestled with the desire not to suffer, see Luke 22:44)
c) that power would be the result of the victory (see Acts 1:8)
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:19)
(3) We are God’s garden, the garden of the Lord (Song of Songs 4:12-5:1)
We are God’s garden. We are enclosed, shut in, protected by God. Many wonderful fruits and spices are mentioned in this passage, and all provide a fragrance that is meant to spread to others. The north winds of suffering and the gentle south winds of comfort all combine to spread the fragrance of Christ to others.
The first garden was one of tragic collapse.
The second garden was a place of glorious victory.
The third garden will be different for each believer. We are God’s special treasure, and all our fountains are in Him (Ps 87:7). May we produce the fragrance and beauty of the Lord in our lives.