Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Lush Garden

While we're talking about connections in the Bible between this and that (yesterday, we looked at the connection between Naomi's story and the bitter well that Israel encountered just after leaving Egypt), let's look at another one that's probably a bit too easy to miss, us not being as well-versed in Israel's story as they were.

This one comes from Leviticus 26.

God is instructing His people about faithful, God-fearing, covenant living throughout the book of Leviticus, and while we may not understand all of the commands that He gives them, they do all have their purpose in revealing something about God's nature to us. And in this chapter, He sets forth the blessings that will come upon Israel for their faithfulness to living according to this revelation. Check it out:

For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

Right away, we hear the promise that God has made historically throughout history, right from the very beginning. "Be fruitful and multiply" were the words He spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden, back when all things were well. It was the promise He made to Noah when He destroyed the rest of literally everything. And it was the promise He made to Abram, not once, but many times. Right away, then, Israel sets this promise in its rightful place - and themselves in their rightful place in history, as God's next chosen, descended from Adam, from Noah, from Abraham. 

But that's not all. Because God continues His blessings. And I will set my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 

Now, let's see. That whole walking among you bit sounds very familiar. Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, in the very beginning. In the Garden. When the Lord walked among His people, was their God, and did not abhor them. Before, you know, the fig. 

So in this promise, what Israel hears is actually not the Promised Land, but the Garden. God is going to make them into the people He always intended them to be, not the people He has to settle for. It's going to be just like it was in the very beginning, just like that first breath right into their very spirits. And if you're Israel, well...Canaan's good, but Eden's better, and this is just a promise too good to miss. 

And the same is true, I think, for us. I don't think we think enough about finding Eden. I don't think we listen close enough to hear the whispers of God that declare, Your faithfulness brings you closer not to the end, but to the beginning. Back to where it all started. 

I'm making you, God says, who I always intended you to be, not someone I'm willing to settle for. 

And I will walk with you, and I will be your God, and you will be My child

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