“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
I came across this passage and it came with an interesting thought that I wanted to share with you guys.
For the first time the sound of the Lord God was not pleasing to their ears, it caused them to worry and to hide. Did God change? NO. The poison from the fruit had taken affect and caused mankind to be in a fallen state, it caused them to look at themselves. It says that their eyes were opened. God had said that this would happen if they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said that they would surely die! Was that a threat? NO. It was a simple fact that the fruit of the tree led to sin and the wages of sin are death. It was the poison (sin) in the fruit that caused them to “fall” away, not God. Adam and Eve’s consciousness changed and their view of God changed. It’s like they said, ‘Oh no, God is going to be mad at us now, we better hide!’ GOD DID NOT CHANGE. Did He know that in order to have true obedience it was necessary to have the tree of knowledge in the garden? YES. Did them eating of the fruit throw off His whole game plan? NO. So the fall came after they disobeyed the first command from God, which we see prior to the eating of the forbidden fruit. It was laid out pretty clear.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
God put man in the garden, the place to encounter His presence and blessing. God put the trees in the garden to benefit man because He saw that it was good and He caused them to grow, making them pleasing to sight and good for food. Man was put in the garden to first be with God (this was VERY GOOD) and then to cultivate and keep all that was in it. Just a side note, Man was not created in Paradise (the Garden of Eden); man was created from the plain state of dirt and then brought into the garden (Gen 2:15, 3:23). God blessed us from the beginning by placing us in the Garden of Eden (which was separate from the ground which man was taken from) to be with Him.
Anyways, I laid that all out to get to this point. Instead of coming out clean and facing God and falling down in repentance, they hid themselves in the “good” things from the Lord. They tried to hide under the trees that were actually gifts given from God for man. Yes, I am trying to go somewhere with this…I feel like we often do this with our “spiritual gifts” that are from the Lord! These gifts are good and right and need to be cultivated daily. But instead of coming out clean in repentance when we mess up, we hide behind or under the gifts to block us from encountering God! We tell ourselves, I can still talk eloquently about His Word, I can still lead worship, I can still prophecy, I can still pray, I can still cast out demons or I can still raise the dead…I CAN I CAN I CAN! The very tough word from Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 comes to mind when pondering this.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Operating in His good gifts but not being in a right relationship with Him is lawlessness! We often base the fact that we still have the “gifts” so therefore everything is all good with us and God so we don’t need to have a fresh encounter with Him because He has already approved us by the gifts. He gave the gifts to us to help us, but He did not give them to us to replace our relationship with Him. I’m not saying we need to beat ourselves up when we mess up, don’t get me wrong. I just feel like it’s easier to go with the good from God instead of going to our God of the good to cultivate a relationship with Him, that is VERY GOOD. Then out of that relationship it is good and right to cultivate and pursue His good gifts, spiritually and physically. He loves to give good gifts in abundance, but even more so He loves being with us and desires us to be with Him.
In Kris Vallotton’s ‘Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry’ he says,
“The gifts of the Spirit do not validate our walk with God.”
I’ve also heard it put another way, ‘don’t let your gifting lead your heart’.
Let us get back into His presence; back to walking with Him in the garden, to the place of encounter. It is time to start taking care of our own vineyard. For why should we be like one who veils themselves (song of songs 1:6,7)? We no longer need to serve at a distance. It is time to encounter Him individually and in fellowship. We must not be afraid of the sound of His coming; we must not be troubled. We need to let go of the fig leaves and cling to all that He is. If we are with Him now, He will not have to ask, “Where are you?” But let us be like Isaiah saying, “Here am I!” No matter how good or bad things look or feel.
••••I hope whoever reads this is encouraged, I know this is for me more than anyone else, but I felt led to share it anyways.