6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: Man was made outside of the garden; because it says here that after God had formed him, he “put him into the garden:” he was made from the common dust that accumulated upon the ground, not of paradise-dust.

July 5, 2013

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson I.B.2: Man’s Privilege and Duty in the Garden.

Gen. 2.15-17. (KJV)

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Commentary

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Man was made outside of the garden; because it says here that after God had formed him, he “put him into the garden:” he was made from the common dust that accumulated upon the ground, not of paradise-dust. He lived outside of Eden before he lived in it, and perhaps that was so he might see that all the comforts he enjoyed in paradise were due to God’s free grace. He could not claim to be an official resident of the garden, because he was not born there, and besides that, he did not have anything that was not given to him; there was, therefore, no ground for boasting. Man served his probation there, and as the title of this garden, the garden of the Lord (see Ge. 13:10 and Eze. 28:13), indicates, it was in fact a temple in which he worshipped God, and was daily engaged in offering the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.

The same God that created him was the creator of his blissful circumstances; the same hand that made him a living being planted the tree of life for him, and placed him near it. This man had dominion, and the forces of nature responded at his beck and call. He that made us is able to make us happy; He that is the maker of our bodies and the Father of our spirits, and no one else, can effectively provide for the happiness of both.

It is very comforting, regardless of what our condition and situation may be, if we can plainly see God going before us and working for our good. If we will only follow the gentle prodding of providence, and go along with the hints of direction occasioned by divine intervention, we too may find a paradise where we could not have otherwise expected it—“He will choose our inheritance for us…” (See Ps. 47:4; NKJV). God chose Eden for Adam and Eve, originally He chose Canaan for the habitation of His people (Gen 12:1–7). Later, under David and Solomon He enlarged the boundaries (Gen 15:18). Ultimately, He will rule the world with a rod of iron, through the Son of David, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that God delegated him certain work to do. He put him there, not to live like a man on a permanent vacation, to play all the time, but to “dress” the garden and to “keep it.” Paradise itself was not a place of immunity from work. Note the following about work:

1. None of us were created to be idle. God made us these souls and bodies so that we would have something to work with; and he gave us this earth for our residence so that we would have something to work on. He that gave us life has given us work to do, to serve Him and our fellow-men, and to work out our salvation: if we do not willingly do the work He has given us, we are unworthy of our life and care. Secular employment can coexist with a state of innocence and a life of communion with God. The joint hears with Christ, while they are here in this world, have something to do in this world, and their employment must have its share of their time and thoughts; and, if they do it for the glory of God, they are serving him as truly as when they are upon their knees.

2. The husbandman’s vocation is an ancient and honourable profession; it was needed even in paradise. The Garden of Eden, though it did not need to be weeded (since thorns and thistles were not yet a nuisance), must be dressed and kept. Nature, even in its primitive state had room for improvement. It was a calling fit for a state of innocence, making provision for life, not for lust, and giving man an opportunity to serve the Creator and acknowledging His providence: while his hands were busy with the trees, his heart might be with his God.

3. There is a true pleasure in the business which God calls us to, and employs us in. Adam’s work was so far from being an inconvenience that it was an addition to the pleasures of paradise; he could not have been happy if he had been idle: it is still a law, He that will not work has no right to eat—“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess 3:10; KJV). (Also see Prov. 27:23).

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