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garden of mercy...

"He drove man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life." Genesis 3:24

The Old Testament holds a very special place to me, and has for a very long time. The poetic verses, the beauty of love, the fiery idignation of judgement, the love poured out time and time again on God's is everything everyone desires to watch or to participate in. There is something that stirs the soul with every verse. Jesus. He is in every word, every sentence - His story begins in Genesis...and so does ours.

When God created man and woman, they were His neshamah, His breath. He breathed His own into our lungs...we were His. And He placed them in a garden....a garden that would disappear and resurface in Revelation, giving us a glimpse into the end of the story.

We all know it...He places them in the garden, tells them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent comes and convinces Eve to do it, she does, she gives it to Adam and they are suddenly aware that they are naked. God asks Adam what he did, He blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent and well, the story starts its movement downhill and at a very rapid pace.

The way God responds is the crux of the story...and this is where the story comes to life. He approaches the serpent first with consequences. Then moves to Eve, stating the consequences about childbirth. Then He devotes some significant real estate to Adam and his consequences. A small detail, perhaps, but a very significant gesture in my opinion. Adam is the head of the household, and through this beginning, sets up the theme that reoccurs throughout the Bible of leaders, leadership, mens and women's roles and accountability (more on that in a different blog post later). Even though Adam does not pick the fruit from the tree, he allows himself to eat it and He seemingly gets the brunt of the judgement.

But the best of the story is yet to come. The first sacrifice....verse 21, "The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them." Beyond the consequences, He still tenderly tended to them. In their weakness, and in their shame, He showed them His power as He began to show the need for a sacrifice to save them...Jesus.

And even still, the story continues into a beautiful flow of mercy. God, knowing what man was capable of, drove him out and put the cherubim to guard the tree of life, which was a different tree then the knowledge of good and evil and which makes its debut here. Now that they knew good and evil, he did not want them to eat of the tree of life and live forever, in their sinful state. Pure mercy. He knew the story was to be unraveled and He knew what had to happen, thousands of years before it did. His Son...a sacrifice...because of us. Mercy. Atonement. The very beings that He created, that held his breath, would reject Him, would crucify His Son. And there would be those who would call out to Him, accept the sacrifice that would cloth us, and be a part of how the story ends with a new heaven and new earth...and a new Eden.

"Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God's paradise." Revelation 2:7

Come Lord Jesus, Come.


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