Once sin entered the perfect dwelling place where man lived and God visited in the peaceful coolness of the day, all hell broke loose and a new place of existence had to be found for mankind. Gen. 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
We have been east of Eden ever since. We see the effects of sin driving man farther away from God’s presence when Cain murdered his brother. The consequence was added separation from God, family, plus a farther distance from Eden. Gen. 4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. In the land of Nod or the other side of the tracks as some would say today. The point is, the distance from God gets farther away.
Part of our Christian mandate is to bring the blessing of the Lord back to earth, wherever we live. Isa. 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. Someone might say, “Oh that could never happen in our neighborhood because of all the problems going on.” Peace begins at home and then flows outward to the streets. We are to become in heart and attitude the very neighbors we want to have living next to our homes.
With time and prayer, God can transform the roughest neighborhoods into places where people would desire to live and raise families. Eze. 36:35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Will this transforming attitude take effort and grace on everyone’s behalf? Absolutely, because with God all things are possible.
God does have the original plans of Eden and we can ask Him for the blueprints that would work within our own homes and neighborhoods. Psalm 2:8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You may not be getting along with your neighbors right now, but you can ask God for their eternal souls to be saved and become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Who knows, in the process of time they may become your best friends, helping you create an Eden worth living in. Prov. 3:29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. May we all stop moving east of Eden and bring back the blessing of Eden here and now. Father, in Jesus name, help me be the neighbor I want living next door to me. Amen!