This week we are doing some gardening with God. He is always working in the soil of our lives. Do you have your gloves ready and your old jeans? Let’s pull out the weeds we don’t want and get started.
Nobody grew strawberries like my grampy. I remember sitting with my sister on the steps there on the side of his home, and we would pick strawberries right off the vine. I’ve not had one so sweet since those days. My grampy was an amazing gardener and so is our God. Yes! This week on the Bible for Busy People, you and I are going to do some gardening with our God. He’s always working in the soil of our lives. So, do you have your gloves ready? Maybe some old jeans that you don’t care about, so you and I can kneel down and pull out the weeds that we don’t want in our lives. Oh, we have so much ground to cover. See what I did there on the Bible for Busy People? So, let’s get started because you know what? You and I began in a garden. Join me in Genesis chapter two, beginning in verse four.
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land.
How cool is that?
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
The only thing I can compare this to is I remember when I was a kid, I would have Play-Doh and I would make those little bird nests. That’s like the closest thing that I can compare to what God did in that garden. He made us from the dust of the ground and breathed his life into us. If you are feeling lifeless today, ask God by the power of His Holy Spirit to breathe life in you. Alright, verse eight now.
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man He had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground, trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden, he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing it into four branches. The first branch called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second branch called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. The third branch called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates. The Lord God placed the man in the garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, you may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.
Oh, we know how the story of Adam and Eve ends, but it’s our story too. Sin came between Adam and Eve and God once they were naked, but they felt no shame. And they walked with the Lord God in the cool of the day. Can you imagine what that was like? But then of course, they ate from the tree, the one that the Lord told them not to eat from explicitly, and you and I have done the same. And so our sins separated us from God. But that is why God, the Father sent his son Jesus to pay for the sins of Adam and Eve, the first sins ever committed in the Garden of Eden, and the sins that you and I committed this morning. That’s why Jesus came. He always had a plan for your redemption, and my redemption. I really want to study the entire story of Adam and Eve this summer with you. I’m cooking up some good plans, so stick around. But for today, let’s stick to our garden theme. I discovered something really beautiful in God’s word as I searched for the word garden, and gardener, in my studies. So turn with me to Jeremiah chapter 17, beginning in verse seven.
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.
So, the Lord is comparing a tree that produces good fruit that’s planted along a riverbank, to a person who produces good fruit in their life. How do we do that? Well, we’ll cover that in just a second, but first turn with me now to Isaiah. It’s the book right before Jeremiah chapter 58, verse 11. I’m going to read you two different translations. This is the NIV:
The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Now, here’s the NLT version of that verse:
The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever flowing spring.
Don’t you want to be like that? I want to be a well watered garden. Well, let’s figure out how. Let’s turn to the words of Jesus in the gospel of John chapter seven, beginning in verse 37.
Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds. Anyone who is thirsty may come to me. Anyone who believes in me may come and drink, for the scriptures declare rivers of living water will flow from his heart. When he said living water, he was speaking of the spirit who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory.
But he is now in his glory and we do have the Holy Spirit. The gifts that the Spirit gives us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How do you and I become fruitful people? By staying connected to the Holy Spirit. It’s the living water that he provides us every day that turns you and I into well-watered gardens. Okay. Until tomorrow when you and I talk about what it looks like to stay connected to God, when you and I spend a little time with Jesus, the master gardener. Till then, remember, you are loved.
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