Gardens in the Word:
Gardens are places of refreshing. Of life. Gardens are not filled with death and despair. Instead, they are filled with hope…
When God first created the world, He made the Garden of Eden. A garden teeming with life and the majesty and power of who He is, yet, a gentler meaning was held within. That of love.
Yes, God loved all of His creations, including the Garden… but He built it wholly out of love. A result of the love He felt for us before we were even spoken into being—created in His own image.
Because the first garden was built upon the love-notes of His voice speaking it into being, gardens continue to maintain a certain harkening to that love. A reminder to our soul that the God of the universe loves us. A love-note from our Creator.
In the Word, the first mention of any garden is of course in Genesis with the Garden of Eden, yet, it most certainly does not stop there…
In total, there are 65 mentions of gardens in the New King James version, with similar numbers in most versions—only 14 of which focus on the creation of the Garden and/or Adam and Eve. That leaves 51 non-creation focused chances for God to use gardens to leave us messages. Thus, while that is nowhere near as many mentions as say ‘vineyards’ or ‘fields,’ gardens are still commonly reoccurring locations.
Some of these mentions of gardens are in passing, comparing a land to a garden, or even THE Garden, because of how beautiful and plentiful it was. Yet, other mentions delve deeper. One early example being found in Numbers 24 within a prophecy…
“How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
Your dwellings, O Israel!
Like valleys that stretch out,
like gardens by the riverside,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
like cedars beside the waters.
He shall pour water from his buckets,
and his seed shall be in many waters…
“…Blessed is he who blesses you,
and cursed is he who curses you.”
—Numbers 24:5-7, 9
This prophecy speaks of the happiness of Israel, of the blessings God promised His children. This blessing is shown in many ways, but one is, “like gardens by the riverside.” Yes, at a glance it might appear to be speaking only of the natural, yet, it tells us so much more…
The gardens show God’s love, the fruitfulness of His children, and His refreshing—for He placed His children by the riverside—by His Spirit. In this instance, the gardens speak not merely of the natural, but of the Holiness of God poured forth upon His children… where they are the gardens, producing and thriving in His love! Where they are the dwelling place, the place where God rests His love…
Jeremiah 31:12 also speaks of God’s children as though they are gardens.
Knowing the love of God’s Spirit poured out upon them as they are refreshed in His presence. Producing good fruit.
While Jeremiah 31 has many messages, it is firstly another prophecy regarding God’s children, Israel. In this instance, speaking of their redemption. Their return to thriving as a well-watered garden as they accept God’s love…
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
streaming to the goodness of the Lord—
for wheat and new wine and oil,
for the young of the flock and the herd;
their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
and they shall sorrow no more at all.
“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old, together;
for I will turn their mourning to joy,
will comfort them,
and make them rejoice rather than sorrow.”
These instances of God’s children being characterized as a garden were not only speaking of the Israel of old, or even merely the Israel of today—though they are that firstly. They speak to us today. They give us a love-song for today; reminding us that, we too, are God’s children… that we are His gardens—His well-watered gardens that will produce good fruit.
In Song of Solomon or Song of Songs—the book title varying with biblical translation—there are a series of love-songs. These songs are believed to have been written by Solomon and contain lyrics of passion. Of love.
While some may say that Solomon wrote these without a thought to God, instead focusing on earthly love… it does not matter. For, the words found in these chapters all speak of love in such a way as to remind us of the love that Jesus has for us… and of the love we strive to have for Him.
Many of the verses speak of gardens; of finding one’s love in the garden… even of the beloved going to the garden to tend His flock…
“My beloved has gone to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to feed his flock in the gardens,
and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s,
and my beloved is mine…”
—Song of Solomon 6:2-3
This harkens ever so closely to Jesus. To His going out to our gardens, tending His flock there; showing His love and devotion through His actions… His placing within us, life.
God’s love for us flows throughout the various passages of His Song of Songs…
“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 Solomon 4:16
God’s love of us—His gardens—is shown through His going out to eat the good fruit. The produce of His love watering our souls.
While gardens in the Word often speak of particular places, the Garden of Eden, the Kings Garden in the King’s Valley of Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane… all the gardens of the Word give us a glimpse into who God is. His love. And even who we are to Him.
Most gardens of the Word flourish within the verses where they reside, yet, some wither and fade. We, in our lives, desire to be good gardens to our Father, our Beloved, the Holy Spirit. We desire to bear good fruit.
One way in which to do this is to realize that only God, His Words, His Presence, can water the gardens of our hearts. Only His love is sufficient for us to bear good fruit; for it is through His love that we can pour out love—soaking our roots in joy as we do.
Our Kings Valley Project is working to replant the Kings Garden, spoken of in the Word, with seven fruit and crop yielding plants. From wheat and barley, to pomegranates and fig trees, we are, through people like you, preparing the garden. Preparing it for Jesus' return as He walks through it toward the Old City in Jerusalem. Preparing it with His love as we pour it out upon His people, creating jobs and beauty as we wait for the blessed day of His return…