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Bible Topics

Life Beyond Miracles

Bob Yandian

Which Door Would You Choose?

If two doors were placed in front of you, one marked “Miracles” and the other marked “Blessings,” which one would you choose? If you are like most Christians, you would choose the “Miracles” door, but that would be the wrong choice.

We have assumed for many years that miracles are the goal and pinnacle for the Christian life. We hear stories of supernatural protection against death, money provided through supernatural means, or cars running for days without gas.

We long for those things to happen again in our lives as they did when we first met the Lord. We feel as if we are no longer “spiritual,” but because miraculous things occur to us now only on rare occasions.

Those types of miracles may have happened quite often in your early Christian walk, but would you want to return to those days? If you are like me, your answer is no.

God has something planned for our lives which is better than miracles; it is a life filled with His blessings.

The Longest-Running Miracle in the Bible

God gave a miracle to the children of Israel which lasted the entire 40 years they were in the desert. Each morning, manna fell supernaturally from heaven, and each evening quail filled the camp for meat. All the people had to was walk outside the door of their tent to find food catered by God. What room service!!

God gave man food from heaven for 40 years! But was this God’s best? Had the children of Israel arrived at the peak of their spiritual walk with the Lord? The answer is no.

God had originally intended that Israel stay in the wilderness for no more than one year. At the end of the first year, the entire congregation came to the border of the Promised Land but retreated in fear and unbelief when they heard the report of the 10 spies.

For 39 more years, they wandered in the wilderness until their generation died and their children could go into the land given by God. Yet the miracles of the quail and the manna continued each day, even when they were in unbelief and rebellion to the will of God!

God’s best was for the congregation to eat the crops which grew in Canaan. His desire was to bless them with bigger and better crops than they had ever had before.

The blessings of Canaan did not stop after a period of time, as the manna had; they were to continue and increase. Manna was God’s will for only a short period of time.

God’s best was for Israel to live on His blessings, not His miracles.

The Difference Between Miracles and Blessings

~Miracles are God’s “jump start” into a life of blessings. It is wonderful when they happen but we do not want to live on jump starts.

~Miracles come in a crisis, but blessings keep the crisis from coming.

~Miracles come in small amounts, but blessings come in great abundance.

~Miracles are only enough for you and your family, but blessings are enough for you and others, too.

~Miracles can come even when you are in unbelief, but blessings demand responsibility and obedience.

~In a miracle, God works for you; in blessings, God works with you.

~By definition, a miracle is a divine intervention into the laws of nature. In miracles, God works against nature; but in blessings, God works with natural laws.

~Miracles are temporary, but blessings are eternal.

God only parted the Red Sea one time. The children of Israel only crossed over Jordan miraculously one time. Fire was called down from heaven in Elijah’s ministry one time. Jesus turned water into wine only one time and performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes only twice.

People did not receive loaves and fishes multiplied every day, but ate of the fruits of their labor. As we grow and mature, God wants to bless the works of our hands.

A Life of Blessings

When we are in need of a miracle, our mind is continually occupied with the need. The crisis consumes our time and thoughts. Thank God, He has not lost the recipe for manna. He can still come through with a miracle for us! But this is not God’s best.

God’s desire is for us to be consumed with Him, not our needs. If we are constantly thinking about our needs and how we are going to eat and pay our bills, how are we any better than sinners? Jesus told His followers:

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” (Matthew 6:31-34)

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Seven Ministries of the Holy Spirit

Bob Yandian

There are several scriptures in the book of Revelation which reveal the various ministries of the Holy Spirit. In Revelation 1:4, the author, John, says, “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.” Then in Revelation 4:5, he says, “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Finally, in Revelation 5:6, John tells us, “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

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Faith That Cannot Be Bound

Bob Yandian

When praying, we often place the emphasis on our being there and forget that the spirit is greater than the body. The spirit is eternal and unhindered by time and space, but the body is temporal and bound by circumstances. The truth is, no matter where we are or what our circumstances, our prayers of faith are not bound.

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What is a Blood Covenant?

Bob Yandian

In parts of the world, and in most all times, a blood covenant was the strongest type of covenant two people could enter into. It has been used in civilized as well as primitive nations to unite two people together in marriage, business or friendship.

The covenant was made when the blood of two individuals was mingled. It could be done by cutting the palms of the individuals and then the shaking of hands combined the blood. It could also be that a few drops of blood from each person could be mingled in a glass of wine and then drunk by both, although the Bible forbid the drinking of blood. In either case, the blood was mixed, thus indicating that two lives were mixed. Or finally, an animal’s blood could be shed as representative of both individuals mingling their lives together. After all, “the life is in the blood.” The cutting of the skin and mingling of blood left a permanent scar as a reminder of the covenant from that time on.

God’s Covenant with Man is Symbolized by Blood Covenant

In Genesis fifteen, when God entered into covenant with Abraham, substitutes were used. After all, how could God bleed except through a substitute. God introduced the covenant by saying He now would be Abraham’s “shield and exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). God would be Abraham’s protector and provider from that time on. Since God and Abraham were in covenant with each other, they shared each other’s assets and liabilities. Abraham had nothing but liabilities and God had nothing but assets. Abraham certainly got the better end of the covenant with God. The blood of a heifer, goat, ram, turtle dove and pigeon were mingled to represent the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. Through this act, God and Abraham began a covenant which is still in effect today, faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The innocent shed His blood for the guilty and has given God’s life to mankind ever since. We have been saved today "through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Hebrews 13:20).

The Covenant Between David and Jonathan

The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made (cut) a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.  And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt” (I Samuel 18:1-4).

The Hebrew word for “made” a covenant means to cut.  David and Jonathan cut a blood covenant with each other because God brought them together, they recognized it, and mingled their blood, thus joining their lives to each other. Like Abraham with God, David had more to gain from this covenant than Jonathan. But, they were not in this covenant to take, but to give. David was a shepherd, Jonathan was the son of the king. David had few possessions to give. Jonathan had the riches of the kingdom at his fingertips. David had a slingshot for his protection and Jonathan had the military of Israel. They exchanged their robes, armor, sword and belts. This meant that now, by the robe, the power and authority of the kingdom was as much David’s as it was Jonathan’s. So it was with the armor, Jonathan would be David’s protection. By the sword and bow, Jonathan would be David’s defender. And, by the belt, all children to come in their loins, would be included in the covenant. David and Jonathan were more than friends, they were covenant friends. Jonathan and David loved each other as much as they loved themselves (1 Samuel 20:4, 41, 42).


After David took the throne, he began to look for an heir of Saul and Jonathan to bless. The blood of his covenant with Jonathan was demanding that he find if anyone was still alive he could share Jonathan’s generosity with.   

David said, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, so I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"   And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba.  So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" He said, "At your service!"  Then the king said, "Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?" And Ziba said to the king, "there is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet."  So the king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar."  Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.  Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the grandson of Saul, came to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, "Mephibosheth?" And he answered, "Here is your servant!"  So David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem for he ate continually at the king's table. And he was lame in both his feet." (2 Samuel 9:1-7,13)

Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan. He was included in the blood covenant with his father and David, but he never knew it. He grew up hating David. He believed all the reports put out by his grandfather Saul, that David stole the kingdom from the king he served and from Jonathan, David’s best friend.

When Saul and Jonathan died, Mephibosheth’s guardian grabbed him and ran for their lives. While she was running she dropped Mephibosheth and he was crippled in his feet from that time on. He was raised in poverty among Arabs and grew up all his life knowing he was the one surviving heir to the throne but thinking David had stolen it from Saul, Jonathan and him. He had spoken badly about David for years and secretly feared the day David would find out about him, discover his location and have him killed. Then one day his worst fears came to pass. He was taken by David’s servants and brought face to face with David.

Seen Through the Eyes of the Covenant

But David saw Mephibosheth through the eyes of the covenant he had made with Jonathan before he was killed. David looked on Mephibosheth and saw Jonathan. What Jonathan had poured out in love to David, David got to pour out in love on Jonathan’s son. When Mephibosheth saw the benevolence of David poured out on him, he was shocked. He then called himself a “dog” (vs. 8).

I’m going to take a small amount of liberty with the story at this point. Putting a few things together from what is written, I want to address what must have been going through Mephibosheth’s mind. It must have first struck him that he had David figured out all wrong. He had believed a lie about David.  David was a man of love and not of vengeance.  David was thinking of Mephibosheth above himself.  Why would David do this to a poor son of Jonathan? Why would David treat a lame man with such honor and give him back so much of what his father and grandfather used to own? Why would David make Mephibosheth like one of his own sons?

As Mephibosheth laid in the floor, David reached down to lift him up. Mephibosheth saw in David’s hand a scar. That was the same scar he remembered in the hand of his father, Jonathan. And suddenly he understood it. David and his father were in blood covenant together. He was receiving a blessing into his life today that began before he was ever born.

“But the king spared Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul, because of the Lord’s covenant between David and Jonathan the son of Saul” (2 Samuel 21:7).

He was not blessed by anything he had done or could do. He was wealthy and powerful since birth and did not know it. He lived poor because of ignorance, not because of David’s hatred.

 Our Blood Covenant

So it is with our covenant. We received God’s righteousness, not because of our own worth, but because of a covenant made long before we were ever born. We are crippled in our feet because of a fall also, the fall of Adam. God overlooked it when we came and bowed before Him in total submission to Jesus Christ. God called us by name as David did with Mephibosheth. God has given us an inheritance and called us to eat at His table every day. Even though our feet are still crippled, we can eat at a table which covers our feet. All we do is continue to feast at Jesus’ table and our crippled feet will never be seen. Oh, the power of daily fellowship with God.

This covenant can never be broken. It was really not drawn up between Abraham and God, but between God and Jesus Christ. Neither one can break the covenant.

God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath “that by two immutable (unchangeable) things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:7,8).

Our covenant can never be broken because it was drawn up by two sides which will never change or break the covenant, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We joined an unchangeable covenant. We are one with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. You can’t tell where the Father stops, and Jesus begins or where Jesus stops and we begin. We are truly united as one. And besides, how do you unmingle blood?

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Leadership Secrets of David the King

Bob Yandian

In the Psalms of Degrees (Psalm 120-134), King David gives us principles for success and promotion which he has proven in his own life.  Whether a king, business manager, pastor or head of a household, these principles are timeless and will always work.

David is an example of a man who did many things wrong, but still enjoyed great promotion, fortune, fame - and a special place in the heart of God.  Despite his episode with Bathsheba and a score of other sins, David was still called "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22).  Many believers today wonder, "How can this be?"

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Authority and Faith

Bob Yandian

You don’t have to understand how divine healing works to be healed, or how demons leave to be set free.  All you need to know is that the Word of God says when you are in Christ you have authority over these things – “all things” have been put under His feet—and it is up to you to take your God-given authority and use it.

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Power and Authority

Bob Yandian

His power is embodied in the Holy Spirit, who lives in you.  Knowing the Holy Spirit lives in you is the rock-solid foundation of your understanding and security about your authority as a believer.

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In the Beginning

Bob Yandian

God is not confined to working with things that already exist.  God can make things exist out of nothing and then make those things into something!  God created the universe with nothing. 

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The Believer’s Authority

Bob Yandian

What God lost in this earth through the fall of Adam was not His power.  When Adam fell, God did not become weaker.  He was as powerful as He ever was.  What God lost in the fall was a channel of authority (man), through whom He could release His power in the earth

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How Deep are the Stripes?

Bob Yandian

How deep are His stripes? Not only are they deep enough to bring physical healing, they are deep enough to heal controversy, to heal strife, to restore peace and to heal emotions. The stripes of Jesus run deep!

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Living Grace

Bob Yandian

Some people think having grace means they can live an ungodly life and do anything they want. This is simply not true! Grace is never a license to sin; it’s a license to serve. In fact, grace teaches us not to sin. Grace teaches us to reject the world’s viewpoint and to live sober, righteous, and godly lives.

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Psalm 1

Bob Yandian

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalm 1:1-6)

Psalm 1:1

Verse one mentions three types of people:  ungodly, sinners, and scornful.  These are all unbelievers, and each classification is progressively worse.  The ungodly is simply one who is an unbeliever.  Now this person might be very, very moral.  He might live next door, have wonderful children, and belong to all the civic clubs.

But, the Word clearly tells us that morality is not spirituality. An ungodly person can be very moral, doing deeds that outwardly look very commendable, very spiritual. But true spirituality is doing something an ungodly person cannot do: being led by the Spirit of God. The Bible says in Romans 8:14, “for as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Spirituality begins on the inside; it shows itself in outward deeds.

The next type of person mentioned in Psalm 1:1 is the sinner. This person actually practices sinful deeds. The final classification is the scornful. These people are not only ungodly and practicing sinful deeds, but they actually attack Christianity. Notice there is a degeneration from the “ungodly” to “sinner” to scornful.”

Now notice what happens to the Christian who tries to find his happiness among the unbelievers:  he progresses from walking to standing to sitting.  He quits walking with God and starts walking with unbelievers.  It starts in very little thoughts, very minor actions, but it gets progressively worse. Believers, who are out of fellowship with God, start sharing common paths with ungodly people.  Then they quit walking and start standing; they start to participate in the sinners’ activities.  Finally, they begin to criticize the things of God and scorning them.

Psalm 1:2

Verse 2 tells the believer how to get progressively happier.

The word “delight” in verse 2 could be translated joy.  And what is the “law of the Lord”?  It is the Word.  Begin to find joy in God’s Word.  Treat it like a companion.  Make notes in the margins abut what the Lord reveals to you as you read.  Spend time daily reading and studying the Word. Then you will find that even when you don’t have your Bible with you, a verse will come to mind for you to meditate on.  As you do routine tasks during the day, your mind can be occupied with certain scriptures that you are reviewing over and over.

But how can you meditate on the Word at night?  I find it’s easier when I think about a particular verse just before I go to sleep.  Did you ever notice that usually what you think about just before you go to sleep is what you’re thinking about when you first awake?  So think about the Word, and it will guard you.  It will give you peaceful sleep.  Perhaps you will even receive revelation through a dream or an inspired thought during the night.

Psalm 1:3

in verse three of Psalm 1, we see the result of this meditation.  Literally, you are like a tree planted beside rivers (plural) of living water.  When drought and famine come, which trees survive the longest?  The ones planted beside rivers.  They don’t look outside for their supply of water; they dig their roots down deep and tap in for a steady supply.  Meditating in the Word is tapping in to a rich, continuous supply of life-giving, refreshing water.

The result of this rich supply is fruit.  Trees are made so they first send their roots down for stability and continued growth; then they bear fruit.  Did you ever hear a tree straining to bear fruit?  No, it just grows as a result of the life of the tree flowing through all its members.  And the better its root system, the better its fruit.

The next phrase of Psalm 1:3 talks about the leaf.  A withering leaf indicates something is wrong.  It’s likely that a tree with withered leaves will not even produce fruit, or the fruit will not come to maturity.  The leaf is a type of patience.

Your patience is a good indicator whether your faith will produce or not.  When your patience starts to wither, you know your faith won’t produce mature results.  So a leaf not withering means you’re patiently enduring and enduring and enduring.  And if the leaf stays healthy and full of life giving water, you know the fruit is on its way and will grow to full maturity.

The final phrase of verse three says “and whatever he does shall prosper.” Notice it doesn’t say whatever God tells him to do will prosper.  There actually comes a time when you become so proficient in the Word of God, and you become so sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, that your mind is renewed and God trusts your decisions.  Your roots are so deep in the Word, your fruit is mature and your patience remains strong, and your resulting actions are in accord with God’s plan.  God can trust you with your decisions. He backs them and gives you the power to execute them.  And the prosperity mentioned in this verse refers to every area of life – you prosper in all respects.

Notice there’s a lot of studying and meditating before there’s “doing.”  In God’s plan for happiness, the first step is studying then comes meditating, then after that comes action.  If you want happiness, get your roots down deeper and deeper before you go out and do, you will prosper.

This thought is amplified in Philippians 4:11-13, which states, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Paul tells us here that contentment is learned. Contentment is not dependent upon what the external situation is; it is dependent upon what is inside.  That is, contentment depends on the life inside the tree, regardless of drought or the plentifulness of rain.  Contentment is learned by learning the Word.

Paul says he has learned how to be content when poverty is his external circumstance; he has also learned how to be content when plenty is his external circumstance.  Paul developed contentment on the inside of him by storing up the Word.  He had his roots going deep into the rivers of living water and drew upon what was inside of him regardless of outward circumstances.

(I might add, parenthetically, that there is a difference between being content and being satisfied. Be content no matter what your situation, but never be satisfied until you reach full maturity in the Lord.  Continue to desire fuller and fuller fruit; set your faith to produce more and more results for the kingdom of God.  But as you do so, retain that contentment on the inside of you.)

Now notice that after Paul mentions learning four times, he mentions doing.  In verse 11, he learned to be content; in verse 12, he “knows” two things, and he is “instructed” in two things.  It’s only after this learning and instruction that Paul can “do “ all things. So before we rush out to “do”, let’s learn, and learn and learn some more.  Let’s be sure our roots are going down deep, grounded in the Word.  Let’s be sure our leaf isn’t withering, and our fruit is coming to full maturity.

Psalm 1:4

Returning to Psalm 1, let’s look at the second set of three verses which discuss the result of the unbeliever.  The sinner might appear to be as stable as the believer who is planted firmly beside rivers of living water, but verse 4 tells us that in reality, he is no more stable than chaff driven by the wind.  Regardless of the clean, moral life of the ungodly, that person is not like the believer who prospers in all he does.

Don’t be swayed by outward appearances, don’t be fooled by the ungodly man’s tremendous will power to resist evil.  Regardless of his apparently stable, clean life, he has rejected Jesus as his Savior and therefore he has no eternal life flowing through him.  His roots are not planted in anything that will remain.  His happiness is in external things.  And we all know how changeable those things are.  What misery to be subject to such unpredictable, shifting happiness!

Psalm 1:5

Verse 5 describes the division between the believers and the unbelievers.  At the judgment seat of Christ (actually, it’s more correct to call it the “reward seat” of Christ), only believers will be present.  This event is divided from the judgment of unbelievers by a span of a thousand years.  God sees that much difference between the believers and the unbelievers.  We also should recognize that difference and have all the more cause to refrain from walking, standing, or sitting among them to find happiness.

Psalm 1:6

The final verse assures the believer that his result, the end of his path, is not the same as the sinner’s.  God sees the way (literally, “path”) of the believer and the unbeliever, and He sees all the way down the road to the end.  He’s just telling us ahead of time what’s at the end.  For the believer, it’s happiness and blessing.  For the unbeliever, it’s misery and cursing.

So believers, stay in the Word study it, meditate in it so your roots go down deep and you have prosperity and happiness.  And in the midst of heat your leaf won’t wither; in the midst of drought your life is constant since it doesn’t depend on outward circumstances.

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Bob Yandian

When we were in the world, we were guided by the things of the world, by our sight, our hearing, our intuition, and our reasoning powers. However, now that we are born again, the first thing we must realize about guidance is that God does not lead us in natural ways. Guidance in the Christian life is by supernatural means.

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The Tree of Destruction and The Tree of Redemption

Bob Yandian

After the great revival at Samaria, Philip was sent by an angel to the desert to minister to an Ethiopian eunuch.  He came at just the right time to find the eunuch reading from the book of Isaiah.  Philip began to read at the same verse "... and preached to him Jesus" (Acts 8:35).  As the eunuch saw how Jesus Christ fulfilled the scriptures in Isaiah, he believed and was saved.

Jesus is often spoken of in the Old Testament.  He Himself confirmed this in John 5:39, "You search the scriptures... these are they which testify of Me."

Jesus Came to Fulfill All That Was Written

When Jesus Christ came into the world, He spoke to God the Father concerning the Old Testament scriptures:  "Then I said, 'Behold I have come - in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Your will, O God.'"

Not only is Jesus spoken of in the Old Testament, He came to fulfill all that was written.

Did you know that Jesus can be found in every book of the Old Testament?  In some cases, it is as straightforward as the prophecy from Isaiah that Philip and the eunuch read.  Other times, Jesus is found as a shadow or type - a sort of "visual aid" God gives His children to reveal His great redemption plan.  Studying these Old Testament scriptures can give us powerful insights into what God has provided for His Church.

Two Trees in the Garden

Jesus appears many times in the book of Genesis.  One example can be found in Genesis 2:9, "And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."

What a lavish God we serve!  He did not make just a few trees for Adam and Eve - He made millions!  And they were not all for food; many were just beautiful to see.  Since we are both practical and emotional creatures, God mad some trees for food and for beauty.

Two trees stood alone in the Garden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  God told Adam he could freely eat of every tree except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Tree of Destruction

Why did God place a tree in the Garden which could doom His plans and curse His creation?  He had to.  What good is a creature with a free will if there is no test for that will?  God does test His creatures, but always for our good.  God also slants His tests toward what He desires.  He gives us the right answers before we choose.  When He places before us life and death, cursing and blessing, He tells us to choose life and blessing (Deuteronomy 30:19).

In the Garden, there were millions of "yes" trees and one "no" tree.  By their sheer number, God was telling man to choose life and blessing, not death and cursing.  God also told Adam the benefits of eating the acceptable trees and the curse of eating the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Yet, Adam and Eve chose to eat of the tree God forbid. Why?

How was Satan able to tempt two people who were perfect and had everything they needed?  They could not sin in the same manner as we can today.  They could not covet or steal - because everything belonged to them.  They could not commit adultery - because there were no other men or women on earth.

Satan had to convince them that there was something God was keeping from them; that although it seemed like perfection, God had left something out.  Satan convinced Adam and Eve that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was keeping them from being like God or from being gods themselves.

The Tree of Redemption

Isn't it interesting that the cross is also called a tree?  This tree is not a tree of destruction, but a tree of redemption.

"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree." (Acts 5:30)

"...Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree..." (1 Peter 2:24)

The two trees could not be any more different.  God had a plan through the cross to bring us back to Himself.  This second tree was able to reverse all the damage inflicted by the first tree.

The Difference Between the Tree in the Garden and the Tree of Calvary

1. The first tree was planted by God, the second by man.

With the first tree, man rejected the plan of God and substituted his own plan.  With the cross of Jesus, God rejected man's plan and introduced His own answer: full forgiveness of sins.

2. The first tree was inviting, the second was not.

The tree in the Garden was pleasant to the eyes, but in the cross we have nothing of beauty.  The cross was the place of Jesus' death, a place of pain, covered with blood.  "He has no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.  And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him" (Isaiah 53:2,3).

3. God forbid man to eat of the first tree, but He invites us to the second.

God told Adam "of the tree... you shall not eat."  But of the cross He tells us, "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).  Man is so much better off when he listens to God and obeys His voice.  His word is as true and vital for our daily life after the new birth as it is for salvation.  In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

4. Satan tried to get man to eat from the first tree, but tries to keep him from the second.

Satan told Adam and Eve, "You shall not surely die."  He called God a liar and they believed him.  With the same amount of effort Satan tried to get man to eat of the first tree, he now works to keep man from the cross.  The Bible tells us, "Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, ..., should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:4).

We must put all our effort into rejecting the words of Satan and obeying the words of God!

5. Eating the first tree brought death, while the second tree brings life.

God warned Adam, "In the day you eat of it you shall surely die."  But today God encourages us to put our trust in Jesus and be born again: "Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).  In spreading the gospel, we stand on God's side, as His representatives, calling people to lose their sins and gain eternal life

6. The first tree removed man from Paradise, the second tree brings us back.

When Adam sinned, "the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden" (Genesis 3:23).  Man could no longer live in God's presence and had to be banished.  But when the thief accepted salvation on the cross, Jesus said to him, " today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).  We have been brought back into the Garden and are accepted in God's presence again.

7. The first tree took us away from the Tree of Life, the second brings us back.

Adam and Eve had to be banished from the Garden to prevent them from eating of the tree of Life and living forever in a fallen condition.  Angels guarded the Tree of Life, keeping men out (Genesis 3:24).  But at the point of the new birth, we again have access to the Tree of Life.

Although the Tree of Life will be found in heaven (Revelation 2:7), we also have access to it in our daily, earthly walk with the Lord.  Proverbs 3:13-18 says, "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.  She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with here.  Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand is riches and honor.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of here, and happy are all who retain here."

The Tree of Life is the Word of God.  After the Fall, Adam and Eve could not eat of it.  To come back to the Tree of Life, man must receive eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Word of God is said to be "foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Corinthians 1:18).  They cannot understand God's Word because it is spiritually understood.

However, as believers, we can understand the Word and God freely invites us to eat of it.  As we do, He promises it will bring us happiness, wisdom, understanding, riches, long life, and peace.

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