God's Boundaries Are Good: Excerpt from my new book, "Devotion Through Genesis."
September 24, 2018
God’s Boundaries are Good
Genesis 2: 10-17
The Garden of Eden was paradise on earth! Yet even in paradise itself, God set boundaries. For example, Eden’s physical boundaries were marked by the four rivers which flowed out of Eden (v. 10-13).
God also created spiritual boundaries for Adam and Eve based on their purpose in the garden. God commanded man and woman to work the garden and keep it. He gave them a task to perform, and freedom to complete the task in the way they saw fit. He also gave them great freedom to access and use the garden’s vast resources: “You may surely eat of every tree in the garden…”
Yet, he also let the man and woman know what mysteries in the garden were outside their purpose to access, reserved for the Divine. He forbade them to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was not to keep something good from them, but rather, God implied that the tree posed physical and spiritual danger for them. God’s boundaries were for the protection of the man and woman. Boundaries protect us from things that could potentially hurt us as humans physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
But boundaries also serve another function: they teach us the outer limits of our purpose on earth. The tree taught Adam that though he had authority over the earth, the commands of God still had authority over him! God was not restricting Adam and Eve, but rather creating boundaries which demonstrated their place in the new world’s order.
In other words, The Garden of Eden was paradise not in spite of its limitations for man and woman, but because of its boundaries.
What does this tell us about our relationship with God?
If you are a parent, think about your child. When that child was very small, did you “baby proof” the house, making sure they couldn’t fall down the stairs, or get into anything that could hurt them? This simple analogy demonstrates how God’s boundaries around our behavior are ultimately for our good. Because He created us, He knows what will ultimately make us happy, and what will hurt us. It is love for His children that causes Him to point out the things that are good versus bad for us--His boundaries are a blessing!
Spend some time to pray and/or journal, meditating on these questions:
What are some boundaries God gives in the New Testament for our behavior as Christians today? How do these boundaries protect us?
Is it difficult for you to see boundaries as protection rather than limitation? Why?
Have you seen the truth that God protects us through boundaries in your own life?
Our purpose informs our boundaries. What is your purpose, calling, or assignment in this season? (For example, a wife, mother, brother, student, leader, employee, etc). What boundaries do you need in your life to live out this purpose well?
God, thank you for being a loving Father with a heart that desires to protect us. I thank you for helping us understand how we were made to live through the boundaries you give us. Your perfect design is amazing! I confess I haven’t always understood the purpose behind certain boundaries you have given me. Please help my heart come into alignment with your truth more every day. Please teach me to be more like Jesus and live the way you have designed me to live in every part of my life. I want to glorify You by living out your truth. I praise You! Amen.