In my devotion today, from The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn, “Into the Garden” Day 282, I read how God placed man (Adam) into the garden (Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.), a place of His blessings.
The garden then became a place of the curse (Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.).
Then Jonathan Cahn contrasted man placing Jesus in the garden tomb (John 19:41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.), a place of sorrow. He wrote, “God allowed Himself to be brought to the place of our curse to give us the power to leave that place, that He might once more bring us to a place of life, and to a life of His blessings.”
I have been pondering on the garden all day. I am used to hearing talk about the wilderness. A place where Jesus faced trials, and to describe the place of trials that we walk through in our own life. I have not heard much about the garden. As I thought about gardens the following is what came to me:
Death entered the world in the garden through Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Genesis 3:19 …Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”). Christ, in His obedience, overcame death at the garden tomb (Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.).
I also thought about the Garden of Gethsemane, it was there that Christ died to His own will and surrendered His life for us. From the account in Matthew 26: 38-44 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
It is just like Satan to pollute something that God created as a blessing. He thought he won in the garden of Eden, instead God provided a way of redemption through Christ. Satan thought he had victory as Jesus wept in the garden, but God strengthened Jesus for the job ahead of Him. Satan thought he won that day as Jesus died on the cross and was placed in the tomb. Instead, Jesus rose from the grave. God redeemed what looked like defeat every time. He turned sorrow into joy. He took what the enemy meant to destroy into victory. What was mean to be a sign of final defeat, the garden tomb, became the hope of every believer.
The empty tomb became the first place that the gospel was shared (Matthew 28:5-7But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”), and to women none the less. I guess someone forgot to tell the angels that women aren’t suppose to share the gospel with men. It is probably a good thing or they would have continued fishing instead of going to Galilee to seek Him.
As I thought about the garden in the natural sense, it is a place where seeds go to die. It is a place where things fall to the ground, and ultimately die as well. However, the garden is also a place of life, of fruitfulness, of growth, and purpose. It depends on what part of the cycle we put our focus what we will see as we look at a garden.
I realize Adam could have made a choice not to cultivate the land and died after being evicted from the Garden of Eden. Jesus could have said “Nah, I think I will pass on the beating and death on the cross. They can pay for their own sins.” And Jesus could have chosen to succumb to death and not risen again. The cycles could have stopped if they had not refocused their attention to what God wanted in and through their lives.
In order to move into life, Adam had to move forward through hard work and effort. In order to see the fruit bore, Jesus had to go to the cross. In order to see growth, the women and then the disciples had to put their trust in something bigger than themselves. In order to fulfill their purpose, they all had to lay everything on the line, and step forward even when death was all they could see.
I often I allow the enemy to cloud my vision and keep me focused on what has died in front of me. I stay in that moment of defeat instead of allowing Christ to move me into the redemptive cycle that will follow. I stand looking and the dying seed that I planted, and fail to use the time to cultivate it’s growth realizing that it must die to bear fruit. Or I stand looking at the wilted plant or even what is left after the harvest, instead of preparing the ground for the next cycle of planting.
How many seeds in my own life have gone uncultivated because I have given up on them? How much land is still waiting for preparation so that the harvest can continue? I am so grateful that I serve a God who can redeem the lost time, who has protected the seed and the land, because His plans didn’t change just because I was stalled by the enemy.
The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
My part is choosing to let go of what I thought it would look like, to let go of the dead things. I must realize the secret of the garden is that the things that appear dead, they are just fertilizer for what is coming next. I must start cultivating where I have been called. I have to go back and tend to the seeds that have been planted, watering those that others have not come to tend in my failure. I have to go back to the garden, and start preparing the land for whatever God is going to do next in and through me.