The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2: 15-18).
The Scriptures recount the second and third time that God spoke in Genesis 2. Here he invites Adam to not only enjoy, work and care for the Garden of Eden, but to keep his hands off of one select tree, the one designated as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Man’s first job had incredible dignity…the care of God’s abundant creation. Work was to be both meaningful and flourishing; therefore, it would remain untarnished if he kept his hands off that one forbidden tree. One and only one stern warning as he would commence serving as the husbandman of the habitation of paradise.
And, it is here that God also promises to provide for his created image bearer a helper suitable to the man he placed in the garden, with empathy of not being left there alone. God’s very specific and remarkable promise showed Adam that working and living in community was the Lord’s priority. How ironic that the tree warning would ultimately be ignored after the suitable helper is provided. How easy it is to convince each other to walk our own path rather than listen and obey the voice of the One who always has our best interests in mind.
Since we know “the rest of the story” it’s fascinating that here we find God’s voice spoken with both the clarity of direction and empathy. How true it is for all generations henceforth…when we listen to God’s voice and obey it, we will see firsthand how much the Lord delights to lavish love and empowerment so that we too can fully and meaningfully accomplish his will.
What are the specific ways God has instructed you along the path of life? With whom is God providing accompaniment for you in this journey? How can you help one another to walk the well-ordered way, even in this coming week?