Genesis 3:8-13 Cool of the Day

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” – Genesis 3:8-13

The LORD God is walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

God – the omnipresent, all powerful Creator of everything, including us, whom we worship, talk with when we pray – is walking in the garden, looking for us.

Since I was a boy, this image was sometimes scary. The garden is a blissful, beautiful, place where I might lay on the grass and never worry about ants or ticks or mosquitoes, and be truly happy. It is one corner of a bigger, more majestic heaven. Then God strolls through the trees towards me; or stomps like an angry giant, because sometimes that’s how I would see it. In context, it is how Adam saw God in this moment, a child who had done very, very wrong and knew the bringer of punishment was coming.  This was the God I was taught to fear, who judged and condemned.

God is the ultimate judge, and he will correct us when he step out of line, like any good parent who wants the best for His child. But He is not stomping through the forest like an angry monster hunting us down.

He is walking in the garden in the cool of the day. He is at peace. If God wore jeans His hands might be stuffed into the pockets as he turns His perfect face towards the sun and smiles, maybe even whistles a tune. He is at peace, because He is peace. Meanwhile we hide in our shame, not wanting to be found. He knows where we are; He knows what we have done. Even then, He is waiting to share his peace with us, as we walk in the garden with Him.

Other voices often tell us we did wrong and are not worthy, that we should not be at peace because there is too much to regret or worry about in the world. They pull us away from where we truly need to be.

Next time you pray, don’t hide behind that figurative tree. Instead, as you talk to the Lord, imagine you are walking beside Him in whatever garden is perfect for you, accepting His grace as His peace wraps around you like a blanket. You walk with nothing between you but love and respect and a connection so deep and strong you know there is nowhere else in the universe you should be but there with the One who made everything, including you.

Prayer

Holy Father, thank you for continuing to show me the poetry of Genesis and the images laid out so simply yet powerfully as truths. Let every word we read bring us closer to being forever beside you in the garden in the cool of Your day.

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