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Gardening is as much of a relaxing, fulfilling activity, as it is a testament to God’s beauty. As Master Gardener, it was God who designed all the plants, trees, and grasses, and it all started in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:11-12).
Nowhere else in the world was such splendour to behold. The garden was His delight, and He knew that to keep it flourishing, an earthly caretaker was necessary. And so, in His wisdom, God appointed Adam as the gardener (Genesis 2:15).
But everything changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord. They were then exiled from the Garden of Eden, sent to live in a foreign land that was radically altered. The plants, trees, and landscape were now cursed.
Gone were the abundant, fertile fields and flowing streams of water. Instead, they were faced with thorny weeds on parched ground and harsh sunlight, and constant work was required to make the land yield food of any sort. And even that was not a guarantee. Sometimes the land served as a burial ground.
Gardens and Their Symbolism
Gardens have been used in the Bible and throughout the literary world to explain just about every aspect of life, from birth to death.
Depending upon the plant or its condition, it evokes feelings of renewal, strength, hope, beauty, love, faith, or sin, sorrow, sadness, and anger. It can even signify quantities, actions, poverty, or wealth.
Consider the imagery unlocked from these Biblical passages about gardening:
The Israelites are numerous and prosperous. “Like valleys, they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters.” – Numbers 24:6
Description of a lavish, royal garden. “The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones.” – Esther 1:6
The Israelites thrive. “They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden.” – Job 8:6
Curse for the disgraced and disobedient. “You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.” – Isaiah 1:30
The frailty of humanity and God’s control over all of creation. “The grass withers and the flowers fall because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.” – Isaiah 40:7
God’s promise to revive the Israelites. “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” – Isaiah 51:3
God’s people will come forth in abundance from all parts of the globe. “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” – Isaiah 61:11
God’s restoration of the cities and His people. “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” – Ezekiel 36:35
Jesus likens Himself as the vine, God is the gardener, and we are the branches. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” – John 15:18
Tasked with Gardening
God gave us the desire to work the land to teach us patience we wouldn’t otherwise possess, enable us to track seasons, provide an outlet for our creativity, and make us responsible for protecting the environment.
Land has always been of importance, whether we plant crops or build a house on it, and it will continue to be even more valuable in our eternal home, too. Let this description of the City of God give you something to reflect on from Revelation 22:1-5, which reads:
“Then 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 down 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. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”