Ah…looking back at 2:9 “trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”
Aren’t we tempted to believe that God’s best is good for us, but not pleasing? Doesn’t the enemy use temptations that appear pleasing, but aren’t good? The truth is that God created things for us that are both pleasing AND good for us.
We can have it all if we’re patient.
2:15-16 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;”
What we’re given comes with responsibility, the potential and foundation for increase, and the freedom to do what we choose with it.
Have you ever wondered who came up with verse numbers anyway? I have. Many times, I’m tempted to end at the end of a convenient verse, like 16 above, but verse 17 outlines the completion of that sentence.
17 “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
I will never understand the purpose of free will, but I do know it is a powerful way to demonstrate trust and love. Adam must have been a little confounded by this statement. Why would God give me all this great stuff and one thing that’s off limits? Why not just keep that tree out of the garden so I don’t have to worry about it?
But God’s not like that. Life tends to come with beautiful blessings, complete with the single off-limit tree. It’s funny how that one tree can distract from the entire garden. Are we just supposed to ignore it? Pretend like it’s not there? Why did God even make it pleasing to the eye if we weren’t supposed to have it? Is He setting me up for failure? Ever felt like that?
Without the freedom to choose, love can never be proven.
And speaking of love, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and …made a woman…and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
In a day and age of dating websites and singles groups, it’s interesting to see how God brought the woman to her man, to the one she was literally created for, and the one who would receive her as his own flesh.
I often see parents love their children more than their spouse or partner. It seems to be a natural occurrence- after all, creating a child from your own flesh produces a natural bond of great strength. But, here we see that this same bond, one of being of your own flesh, is how God intended a man to love his woman. It’s definitely possible, and a love that God can supply. He went on to complete this union in verse 24.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
I think the purpose of this is for love and function. A body has to be connected to it’s parts in order to function, but that does not mean they have to be overbearing to the other. If my fingers are typing, I am often unaware of my breathing. Thankfully, that is being taken care of on it’s own, without my awareness. A marriage is intended to have trust and love to care for the other, to be united at all times whether mindful of it or not, and to be as loving as one is toward his/her own child. The same natural bond between a parent and a child was first meant to happen in the bond of a marriage. If you are experiencing less than that kind of love or bond, God can heal and supply the love in the midst of any situation.
Perhaps my favorite verse comes at the end.
25 “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
I am quite sure this is not only referring to physical nakedness, but also to emotional and spiritual nakedness. They were completely revealed one to the other, and there was no shame. Often, people feel the need to hide certain parts of who they are…what they’re tempted by, their past, their present, their desires, out of fear or the desire to maintain acceptance. I think this verse was only possible because of what preceded it- the unconditional love as each’s own flesh and blood.
I believe this is how we are meant to live, not just with our spouse, but in life. Loving, loved, naked, and unashamed. Without the lone trees of temptation, we wouldn’t even have anything to be ashamed of. Let’s not let the trees get in our way. There’s an entire garden around us and the potential for so much more.
Lord, thank you for all that you have given me. Help me to unconditionally love those around me so that we can be open and unashamed. I reject any shame that I have held over others or myself. I receive your love in me and through me. Help me to enjoy your wonderful gifts and to resist the things that may cause destruction. Thank you for free will and for being a God that already proved Your love for me.