8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A few weeks ago, a friend drew my attention to this verse. It’s one that I think many of us overlook simply because there is usually one particular tree that gets all of the attention when we speak of Genesis.
“In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
“And”…yes, two trees.
The one we always hear about is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the tree that Satan subtly slithered into and enticed Eve to focus on.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
Genesis 3: 1-6
“Any tree”…there were many. The Lord created an abundance in that garden and Adam and Eve lived in the midst of that abundance. Yet, with a flick of his tongue Satan drew Eve to the tree of knowledge and convinced her that wisdom existed there. Wisdom vs. knowledge…if she had only known that there is a difference. All of the other trees in that garden faded into the background that day; including the other tree that grew in the middle of that same garden.
The TREE OF LIFE: the other tree placed in the center of the garden in the beginning of time. I wonder how close they were to each other? If only she had chosen to focus on that tree. Genesis 3:22 tells us that eating from this tree would result in eternal life. While Eve was faced with that choice so many years ago,we are still faced with that same choice every day.
Since the beginning of time Satan has been running this same play…distract and destroy. Satan wants us to look at the one thing we don’t have. He does not want us to see and recognize the many ways that God provides for us. Certainly the LAST place he wants our gaze to fall is on that other tree in the center of the garden. Will I focus on the tight budget? Or the way that God provides enough to meet our needs? Will I focus on the turmoil and challenges in planning an event that will bring glory to God? Or will I focus on the potential that just ONE person will hear from God and be forever changed? Will we choose Christ? Or chase the knowledge of other things that are offered as counterfeit wisdom?
Jesus hung on a tree, nailed to a cross. But, he didn’t stay there. Conquering sin and death he is risen indeed- waiting for each of us to choose him. Choose the Way, the Truth and the Life or sin and death?
That tree of life -seen in the very beginning- is also seen in the end.
7Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
While Eve didn’t choose that tree- the tree of life- you can still choose. This tree of life…at the beginning, on the cross, and in the end…is still available and ripe for the picking.
Lord, thank you for the abundance you provide in my daily life. Help me to never look beyond the intricate ways you show Your presence. Thank you for bringing my gaze to the tree of life…who was, and is, and is to come. I pray that you will not allow me to become distracted by other things. Fix my gaze on YOU, Lord.