Cultivating and Guarding the Garden (Part 1)
We read in Genesis 2:15, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep (guard) it”
We see that God put Adam in the garden of Eden with two intended functions and a purpose as it related to the garden. As we go through this message may you be able to see and learn the spiritual picture out of the physical, which was the intended function & purpose (to cultivate & guard) of Adam and why it was and still is so important for the protection and the health of the garden and how it relates to the body of Messiah.
For a garden to produce good fruit/vegetation and to produce the maximum amount, what all is required and most important for this to happen?
1.) good seed
2.) good, soft & fertile soil (may involve much work like tilling)
3.) clean water (not polluted)
4.) keeping out those things that destroy the garden by eating the seeds/and/or the fruit and those things that tramples down the garden
God put Adam in the garden to serve two functions and in these two functions reveals the purpose. To work/cultivate the garden and to guard it, some translations will say “keep” the garden but the Hebrew used here is the word “shawmar” and is more correctly translated as “to guard” which gives us a deeper understanding of this verse instead of just saying “to keep”. What is the spiritual picture here for us? To understand it we have to understand how each of the 4 requirements already stated for a fruitful garden are revealed in the spiritual realm according to the Bible. (please read the above 4 requirements again)
Now Let’s Read Luke 8:5-15 and see if we can find answers to what some of these 4 requirements of a good garden should mean to us spiritually speaking.
“5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
What is revealed in these verses in regards to the spiritual picture of the 4 requirements for a bountiful & fruitful garden?
1). Good Seed: is the Word of God (Luke 8:11) and we know that the Word became flesh (John 1:1-14)
2). Good, Soft & Fertile Soil: a soft & fertile heart (Luke 8:12 & 15) that God will work on to remove the stone and make completely soft and able to receive all His Word which is the good seed. (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
3). Clean Water: The living water (Holy Spirit) provided by Yeshua (Jesus) which is without any contamination, clear and pure according to the Bible. (Luke 8:6, John 4:13-15; John 7:37-39; Ezekiel 36:25 & Revelation 22:1)
4.) Guarding the garden to keep out that which brings destruction & death. satan/serpent (Luke 8:12 & James 4:7-12) & our flesh which is a slave to the worries & desires of this world.
We read in Proverbs 4:23-27, “23 Keep (keep watch over) your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
And we read in 1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world”
The only doorway that the serpent (satan) has access to our garden is through a heart that loves the desires of the flesh or in other words the things of the world. We allow him in when we are focused on and walk in our flesh and we know that the mind set on the flesh is opposed to God, for it does not submit to the law of God (Romans 8:7). When we are walking in willful disobedience to God’s law (sin), we separate ourselves from Him and His protection and allow the enemy access to our mind & heart and into our daily life & our relationships.
How else can we resist the serpent (satan) so that we do not allow him to destroy and bring death to our garden?
Let’s read James 4:1-12,
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with (opposition to) God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the Spirit that He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God (obey His law). Resist the devil (deny your flesh), and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts (remove the thorns, Luke 8:14), you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
We should humble ourselves greatly and believe ALL (2 Timothy 3:16-17) that God has said in His Word, submit to it and we guard it not to allow the serpent (satan) to question our faith or understanding of what Father has told us in His Word in the serpent’s attempt to steal it away or to destroy it. We know that to truly believe is to walk in faith which means to be obedient to everything our heavenly Father has said “as” He reveals it to us. Whatever we understand to be true we are to remain faithful to that and continue to seek for more of His good Seed to cultivate in our heart and in our life. We guard against worldly thoughts & desires of our flesh which can also lead to thinking or saying evil against our brothers & sisters. We have to love God & His Kingdom more than the world and we should desire what He has to give more than what this world has to offer which ultimately is only falsehood & death!
What part(s) of His Word is for us to walk in?
We read in Matthew 4:4 that man does not live by bread alone but by EVERY WORD (utterance) that proceeds from the mouth of God!
How can we know the heart of our Heavenly Father and everything that proceeds from His mouth?
We have to seek for it with all our heart, soul & strength through reading His Word and through prayer! This is how we attain more of His Seed to be planted in our heart which will bring forth more good fruit (our thoughts, words & actions).We are also sustained by His breath (His Spirit) as He breathes life into us as that proceeds from His mouth as well!
Our hearts need to be good soil that will bring forth a garden of much good fruit, but if we do not cultivate it through an intimate personal relationship with God and His Son (Word made flesh) and guard it then the fruit which began to grow in us will wither away and eventually be destroyed, as it will become a dry wasteland of death. The seed (Word of God) that brings forth His fruit is manifested in our heart and guides what we think, say and do. We know the fruit of our thoughts, words and actions should be of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26) and in alignment with His Word, which is our faithfulness to be obey His truth as His Spirit will lead us into all truth and to walk in His light! (Ephesians 5:6-10 & John 16:13)
I believe if Adam would’ve done a better job of cultivating and guarding the garden (Eden & Eve), the serpent would have been resisted and caused to flee from the garden and Eve wouldn’t have committed the first sin and been deceived! Please see/listen to the message titled “Cultivating and Guarding the Garden (Part 2)” as I have shared why I also mention Eve in relation to Adam cultivating and guarding the garden in the link below.
The first and greatest command is to love God which is the source of all life and if we abide in Yeshua (Jesus) we will bear much fruit (John 15:5-6) as the living water flows out of Him and He is the seed of life, the Word made flesh that gives eternal life! Cultivating and guarding the garden of God’s Word is a picture of being in “right relationship” with Him, this is how we “abide in Him”! Without “knowing” God through an intimate relationship it can’t even begin and if we love Him we guard our hearts (gardens) and we should love His instructions for blessings & protection of life, His law (Torah in the Hebrew) which is more correctly translated as “instructions”, which instructs us in what we are to say and do to walk in His righteousness and to keep out the serpent (satan). If we knowingly walk contrary to God’s law then when are in sin and the very definition of “sin” is the transgression of God’s law! (1 John 3:4) Sin separates us from God and we must repent, turn away from the sin and turn back to God and His instructions to restore “right relationship” with Him! This is the picture of true repentance.
Without faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as we have already read there can be no living water (Holy Spirit) or good seed to bring forth life. Cultivating & guarding our garden is founded in the 2 greatest commandments (Mark 12:28-31; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 & Leviticus 19:18). Faith is what begins and sustains our garden and ultimately leads to love which is the fulfillment of the 2 greatest commandments and causes our garden to flourish while obedience & humility protects it by guarding the doorway into it.
The most dangerous seeds that we have to be guarded against that the serpent can plant in our heart which first begins in our mind are the doubt of what God said and evil thoughts & desires towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. These two evil seeds keep us from guarding the two greatest commandments to love God with all your heart mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Our Heavenly Father reveals in the natural or physical realm how things work in the Spiritual realm. How we take care of His creation (a literal garden) can bring about life or death and testifies to how we are to understand how our spiritual walk with Him works. Our Father does not make His Word “too hard” to understand, He shares His ways with us that everyone can understand no matter where they live or their cultural background, by what they see and experience in everyday life in the natural. His creation in the physical realm is a witness to the truth in the spiritual realm! His “truth” should be in our hearts, Yeshua (Jesus) is the truth as He is the Word made flesh and the Bible also defines God’s law (His instructions) as truth! (Psalm 119:142)
“Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth” (Psalm 119:142)
What should be in our heart?
We read in Psalm 119:97, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day”
We read in Psalm 1:1-3, “1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
We read in Revelation 14:12, “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep (guard) the commandments of God (His law) and their faith in Jesus”
Everything that we have read and that I have shared is about cultivating and guarding a “right relationship” that will continue to grow (mature) over time if we will stay faithful to Who we know and what we know to be true right now. We should have a desire to continue seeking for more of His truth in His Word and through prayer in order for more of His Word to be planted in our hearts as we walk with Him and follow after His perfect example, our Salvation (our Yeshua)!
Please always remember that our salvation is not about being perfect, it is about a faithful intimate relationship with Christ founded in faith, built in truth and perfected in love. Our salvation is not based on having perfect theology but instead in the One who we are to put our trust in and obey as He leads us day by day to understand more of His truth and prepares our heart & mind to walk in His truth to be the light and to bring our God glory and honor. Just like all right relationships, as we get to know the one we love better and spend more time with them the closer we become to them. This walk with our Savior leads us in a progressive revelation of the truth as He covers (our atonement) our failures and leads us to repent (turn away from sin) and to get back on track in right relationship! He gives us the help and the strength to succeed if we will just trust Him and give Him our heart. HalleluYah!
Until next time, the Lord bless you and keep you. And I am going to say that again because the word for “keep” is “Shawmar” in Hebrew, the Lord bless you and “guard” you. Amen!
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-14)
“19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh (soft heart), 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
‘“13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”’ (John 4:13-15)
“37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” (Ezekiel 36:25)
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1)
“16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26)
“6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:6-10)
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13)
“5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:5-6)
“28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”’ (Mark 12:28-31)
““Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules1—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)