Friday, 6 March 2015

Runaway wildfires and guarding the garden...

As most of you know by now, the Cape Peninsula was ravaged by runaway wildfires this week, destroying large parts of 'fynbos'. 'Fynbos' is the smallest, but most diverse floral kingdom in the world – one of God’s very special gardens.

It is interesting to note that in the Bible a garden is a place of intimacy with God. Adam and Eve were created and lived in perfect intimacy with God in the Garden of Eden, in Psalm 23 a garden is the setting for our beloved psalm about God’s provision and care for us as the shepherd, in Revelation we find the tree of life in the garden of heaven, and in Song of Songs the garden and the vineyard is portrayed as a place of intimacy. However, not only is the garden a place of intimacy for the Bride and Bridegroom, the Bride becomes the Bridegroom’s garden. She is His place of intimacy, and He is her ultimate place of safe, loving intimacy.

In Genesis 2:15 we read the following:
And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. 

God gave us dominion over the garden – the place of intimacy, firstly to tend it. Intimacy has to be ‘tended’ - we have to pay attention to Him, seek Him, seek His face, actively long after Him, talk TO Him not just ABOUT Him. Passivity is the number one enemy of ‘tending’ our intimacy garden. Intimacy is not born out of passively wishing that it would ‘dawn’ on us. It is an active process of engaging with the Bridegroom, constantly, continuously. 
The Second aspect God gave man dominion over in this scripture is to guard and keep the garden. The words guard and keep carries the inherent meaning of protection. If the garden is the place of intimacy, it means that we have to guard our intimacy with God. Can it be that this is the first place where Adam failed? That he did not GUARD the garden, that he did not guard their intimacy with God? Maybe just took it for granted? Got accustomed to God walking with them in the cool of the evening? What did satan do IN the garden? How did he get there....? Disguised himself as an innocent ordinary animal, yes, but... why did Adam not discern the danger, or that the serpent was of a different spirit to the rest of the animals in the garden? Why did he not kick him out of the garden before he could tempt Eve? How did he manage to breach the borders of the garden and walk undetected into the core of their intimacy? Why was he granted a hearing? Why did Adam allow it to even speak? I don’t have the answers....

What I do know is that in Song of Songs the Bride is the Bridegroom’s garden as a garden enclosed in holiness, she IS the place of intimacy. Guarding, in principle, means to be alert, watching, expecting to detect and stop the enemy BEFORE he enters the garden. Only the Bridegroom may enter, the enemy shall not enter, not even breach the periphery of the borders of your garden.... let alone come into the core thereof. The garden is holy, you are holy, we are holy, and I am holy. We move, live and have our being in him, in his righteousness we walk with him, dwell with him in the garden. The Bridegroom can only dwell in a holy, consecrated, sanctified place of intimacy. 

What are the consequences of not guarding our intimacy? James 1:12-15 says: 12” Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Temptation is not sin and need not be confessed, it needs to be endured and overcome. We need to withstand and earn authority over it. Protect, guard the borders of our garden. Watch for the first signs of smoke and extinguish the fire right there and then. When we play with fire, allow it to catch the wind, it births death, it becomes a destructive runaway wild fire that destroys our intimacy with HIM. It destroys us, for we are his garden... 

Oh Lord, let my vineyard be before me... let me tend and GUARD and keep the garden of our intimacy.


Song of Songs 1:6
They made me the keeper of the vineyards
But my own vineyard I have not kept.

Song of Songs 4:12
A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.

Song of Songs 4:16
Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits

Song of Songs 5:1
I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk.

1 Peter 1:14-16
[Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel]. 5 But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. 16 For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.

Song of Songs 8:12
My own vineyard is before me.
You, O Solomon, may have a thousand,
And those who tend its fruit two hundred.

2 Peter 3:10-12
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [
material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.
Since all these things are thus [
in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities,
While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [
material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire?

Acts 17:28
For in Him we live and move and have our being.

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