Picture a perfect garden. What does it look like? Do you see the vibrant colors of flowers in bloom? Or the beauty of trees whose leaves whisper to you as they rustle in the breeze? Is there a well-worn path which your feet naturally follow? And what do you hear in this garden? Perhaps you hear the trickling of a brook nearby or the cascading sound of water flowing from a river. Maybe you hear the sweet sound of a bird’s song or the repetitive chirping of crickets. What do you feel in this garden? Are you at peace? Is there a stillness that quiets your soul? Do you feel like this is the place you want to stay forever and never leave?
A long time ago there was such a place. In Genesis 2:8-9, we are told: “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” The story doesn’t end there, however. In Genesis 3:23, we find out that because of rebellion, “the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” And so we long to get back to the garden where we belong.
Physically, yes we have been banished from the garden. But perhaps God has given us another garden in which we can enjoy sweet fellowship with Him as He originally intended until the time of His restoration is complete. When we walk the well-worn path of Scripture, inviting the Spirit to sanctify our imaginations with the fragrance of truth, the obscure memory of our peaceful garden home relaxes the anxieties of living in a tainted world….
Do you see the vibrant colors in Revelation 21:18-21? The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
Do you see the beauty of the trees in Jeremiah 17:8 and Matthew 13:31-32? A tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.
What about the path your feet follow in Psalm 16:11 and 18:36? You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
Do you hear the sound of life-giving water in John 7:38? Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
Do you hear the songs in Revelation 5:13? Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
Do you feel peace in John 14:27? Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Is there a stillness that quiets your soul in Psalm 46:10? Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Do you want to stay forever? Jesus says in John 5:24 I tell you the truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Physically, yes we may have been banished from the garden. Praise God that He didn’t leave us without a connecting point. Spiritually, we have access to the garden of God’s Word in which we find the sweet fellowship of Jesus and all the delights a garden offers. Let’s be sure to linger there each day with our Savior. The next time you open the powerful Word of God, relish these words from the song “I Come to the Garden Alone” in worship as you walk along the path of truth: I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses and the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me. And He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.
Tarry in the Garden of the Word, loved ones. Let your soul find replenishment in nothing else.