June 04, 2017

God’s Cursed Garden

Genesis 3:16-19

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you. . . .

—  Genesis 3:17

I planted my very own garden at the first home that my wife and I owned. It was exciting to see the first seeds break through the ground and the plants grow bigger every day. The work was fulfilling, especially as I anticipated the fruits of my labor.

But as the garden grew, unwelcome weeds grew as well. Often they grew faster and thicker than the plants I had cultivated. More troublesome, they competed for the ground, sun, nutrients, and water that my plants needed. I now had the wearisome work of weeding if I wanted my produce to grow.

My weeds reflect what happened to God’s perfect garden long ago. Today’s verses tell us that struggling with weeds and wickedness is part of living in a cursed creation—cursed because of humanity’s disobedience. The pattern has sickeningly persisted in all gardens ever since.

It’s important to note that the curse is not in the work of gardening but in the frustration of toiling against weeds and wickedness. And the work is not without blessing. Fruit and food still come from our toil. God’s creation is still good. Yet our frustration alerts us to our need to be rescued and released, along with creation, from the curse of sin and death. We need a Savior!

Lord God, thank you for this world and the work you still bless so that we can have daily food. Channel our frustration with work to heighten our dependence on our Savior and Lord, Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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