Imagine the opening scene of a movie that starts with a view of Earth from outer space and then moves downward, telescoping towards a particular continent, country, city, neighborhood, and then one particular house. This is the progression of Genesis, from the grandeur of “the heavens and earth” (Genesis 1) to the specific scene in the Garden of Eden in today’s passage.
As we focus on Genesis 2, Scripture presents Eden as the special place of God’s presence and blessing. This was the place where He dwelled on Earth.
Within Eden, the abundant blessings of God were available. There were “all kinds of trees grow[ing] out of the ground” (v. 9) and a life-giving river flowing from the garden. Outside its boundaries was a land full of gold and other precious resources.
Into this garden, God placed an image of Himself—humanity—and commanded mankind “to work it and take care of it” (v. 15). Interestingly, the instructions “to work and take care” are also used in priestly contexts later in Scripture. For example, Aaron and the Levites were told to “take care of the sanctuary and altar” and “work at the tent of meeting” (Num. 18:5–6).
Like the Ark of the Covenant, which resided in the midst of the temple and those who touched it suffered death (see 2 Sam. 6:7), so in the middle of the garden was “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (v. 9). Those who ate of its fruit were subject to death (v. 17).
God’s creation was complete, Eden was established, and His image was set in its midst. Unfortunately, not all would remain well for long.
APPLY THE WORD
As you pray, sing, and offer your heart to God, recall that Scripture links worship with our task as God’s image-bearers in the world (v. 15). In response, dedicate your worship this morning to the glory of God, and ask Him for the wisdom and strength to take that spirit of image-bearing worship with you into your daily activities of the week.