“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8-9 KJV)
What a picture! It is dripping with layer after layer of meaning! Have you ever heard of the analogy of love in that it is like a furnace containing the fire of passions such that they should not escape the furnace and burn the entire house down? It is probably true as far as it goes, but what a very dull and dim reflection compared with what love is really like; a garden! The only things that get thrown into a furnace from a garden are those things which have long since been detached from the main plant and have withered, dried, and become flammable. Hence the idea from both Zechariah 3:2 and Amos 4:11 that it is a plausible idea to pull something out of the fire. There may be just enough green left in it to keep it from instantly burning up. Then again perhaps it is the saying “green with envy” that is inaccurate as Love does not envy (see 1 Corinthians 13:4). Envy tends to dry a person out and make them less green and more flammable.
A garden is the ultimate of variety. It contains thousands of different species to make the ecosystem work together. Individual items in a garden can even be transplanted, replanted, and the water from the stream is fresh every day. How that resembles the genuine love of a friend! Gardening can be the hardest of work while at the same time being the most rewarding and fruitful. That is why it was all the more a tragedy when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. It was like being expelled from love. I imagine that part of the sting of the curse of working outside the garden was that the work was going to be harder in part because it would be work without a love for it. The weeds would grow up naturally as that what was sown from the heart. The ground would be harder as that reflected the hardened condition of the heart. Oh to be back in the garden, in love, where love really keeps no record of wrongs. The garden where the tree of the knowledge of good and evil can grow freely without any need of tasting it and the tree of real life can be eaten of freely. Life that when tasted yields yet more life.
One of the beauties of the garden is the very real patience that exists there. Like the Song of Solomon, the bearing of fruit comes in it’s season and not before it is ripe. Not only can we share love one with another, but we can see how God works through nature by planting, watering, and the fullness of His riches rather than nature being mistaken for God. A garden presents so much evidence of what God has done, is doing, and has yet to do. A garden reminds us of God’s command to both Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:22 and later to Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:1 to “fill the Earth” as a garden grows outward. Even the trees grow outward in rings.
Best of all the garden was planted “eastward”. The term “eastward” can also be interpreted as before. When a person considers reconciliation, that process is to intentionally bring the situation back to what it was like before the event. Sometimes wild animals who have no sense seem to get loose in our garden, but we have a model to look back on to remember how things were before. Resolution begins with that vision. The first and most obvious issue to reconcile is to return to God through Jesus in complete surrender that we may again enter into His rest, His garden, and His love. It is in knowing Jesus that we begin to know love and peace and patience and so much more. We then begin to really know it well because as we work with our hands in the tasks that He gives us we notice that which we touch carries a new realness. We work with these things daily as we work with things in a garden planted for us as we are again placed in it.
“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.” (Song of Solomon 8:13 KJV)
“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV)