Gen. 3:22-23 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
I’m diving into the book of Genesis, and thanks to my current bible study, God of Creation by Jen Wilkin, I am able to learn so much more about the story I thought I already knew. Now, my husband is a Bible genius, so I can’t tell him anything about the Bible that he doesn’t already know (sigh). Here I am, excited to share some new revelation about, say, Revelation, and he rains on my parade by already knowing stuff! Consequently, now that I’m learning so much about scripture and have a must-share attitude, we have a new system: any time I tell him something cool that I’ve learned, he’s supposed to look shocked and say, “WOW! THAT IS NEW INFORMATION!”, whether he already knew it or not. So please forgive me if I’m about to yammer on about something you already knew, but I just HAD to share, so get ready to look shocked…
In the story of the Fall, in Genesis 3, we all know that, thanks to the sneaky snake, Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And we all know that she gave some to her hubby, who ate it too, and then they played hide and seek followed by the blame game when God came looking for them. And finally, we know that God booted them out of the Garden of Eden, which is why we live in a fallen world today. But have you ever thought about WHY God kicked them out?
In this week’s study, Jen Wilkin blew me away when she peeled back the layers of Genesis 3, especially verses 22-23 (see above). See, I always assumed that God banished them from the garden as punishment for their betrayal. That He was, in essence, saying “Nope, you disobeyed me, you don’t deserve paradise anymore, so out you go!” But the reality is, God had to banish them for their own good, because He loved them. He knew that if they stayed, they would inevitably eat the other off-limits fruit, from the tree of LIFE...and they would live FOREVER. In a sinful, fallen state. Eternally separated from Him. So, to save them from themselves, He pushed them right out of Eden and posted cherubim at the entrance to make sure they couldn’t find a way to mess things up worse. For some reason, that just hit me hard. Here I was, seeing the point of the story as God’s wrath, when it’s actually all about God’s love. Mercy upon mercy for His beloved children, doing whatever it takes to make sure they end up protected and not abandoned, saved and not doomed.
It grieves my heart to think of all the times I’ve assumed God was punishing me when He was in fact, protecting me. All the times my narrow vision prevented me from being grateful for the big picture I cannot see. All the times He did whatever it took to keep me from harm and I was resentful for it. Oh, the mercy He has lavished on me! Thank you, Lord, for loving me so fiercely!
You probably realized that ages ago. And God loves you for it. Or it might be a lightning bolt moment for you like it was for me. And God loves you for it. GOD. LOVES. YOU. And that, my friends, is TRUE information!