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It could rightly be said that the Bible is an account of three trees . . .

The Tree of Life

The tree of life was seen at the beginning of human history. It will be seen again at the end of human history. It was originally planted in the Garden of Eden. It will be transplanted into the garden-like city of the New Jerusalem. Man chose not to eat of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. Man will eat freely of the tree of life in the New Jerusalem.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Also introduced in the opening chapters of Genesis, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the one tree of which Adam and Eve were not to partake. When they disobeyed and ate of the forbidden tree, death and damnation were the result.

The question arises as to why God would place a forbidden tree in the Garden in the first place. I suggest the following reasons . . . Choice. Because God is love, He wants a loving relationship with humanity. But true love always demands a choice.

Therefore, God said to Adam and Eve, ‘Because I want to live with you in a love relationship, I will provide you the opportunity to dump Me, to reject Me, to turn your back on Me. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be a sign to you and to Me that you don’t want to maintain a loving relationship with Me.’ Simply put, without the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there would be no choice; and without choice love is questionable.

Dependence. Before they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve knew only good because any time they had a question, they went directly to God for the answer. This is the way God created them — not because He wanted to cripple man, but because He wanted to bless man. Yet when man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he knew good and evil apart from God. He no longer realized he needed a moment by moment reliance on the Father. Thus, he became independent — cut off from all the resources and blessings of his Creator.

The same thing happens to us. Even we who love the Lord are vulnerable to saying, ‘I don’t need to be in close communication with the Lord because I’ve walked with Him for years. I know my Bible; I understand theology; I have experience.

Such was recently the case with me. Feeling I had already heard the word of the Lord regarding an upcoming decision, I was already moving in a certain direction when the Lord stopped me dead in my tracks with the account found in Genesis 22 . . . ‘Surely you’re not that kind of God,’ Abraham must have thought when he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. But knowing he had heard the word of the Lord, Abraham did indeed lay Isaac on the altar and took knife in hand, ready to plunge it into his son’s chest. Suddenly, ‘the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven and said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad . . .’, (22:11-12).

Perhaps, like me, a number of you have heard the word of the Lord clearly in a Bible study or prayer meeting; through corporate worship or private devotions. You wrote it in your journal and are now moving in a certain direction in obedience to His word to you. But you must realize that what the Lord wants from you is constant communion with Him. You see, if Abraham hadn’t heeded the second word of the Lord — but instead, stubbornly sacrificed his son in obedience to the first word of the Lord, he would have made a bloody mess and a very grave mistake.

‘Got the word. I’m on my way,’ we so often say, failing to realize it might change the very next day. How many unnecessary grave mistakes I’ve made that could have been avoided had I said, ‘Lord it’s not enough to act on what You spoke to me three days ago. I must hear from you constantly.’ ‘But what if I’ve already made a grave mistake?’ you ask. Go to the third tree . . .

The Tree of Calvary

The tree of Calvary covers my mistakes, washes away my arrogance, cleanses my sin. You see, after offering the sacrifice of His own body for the bloody messes I have made, Jesus arose from the grave to obliterate the grave mistakes I have made.

The word of the Lord is this, precious people: On the path to heaven, we must keep current with the Lord. We can’t rely on what we heard yesterday, last week, or a year ago. If you’re not receiving what the Spirit says to you today, like Abraham, you could end up making a big mistake.

Turn away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — from what you think you know — and begin to feast on the tree of life by saying,

‘Before I make my plans for the afternoon, what’s Your agenda, Lord?’ ‘Lord, how do You want me to parent my five-year-old son today?’ ‘Lord, what do You want me to do about the situation at work this morning?’

Dear saints, let us who love the Bible be those who seek the Lord intimately even as we take in knowledge intellectually. Because of the tree of Calvary, when we get to heaven, we won’t see the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — only the tree of life, from which we will partake freely, enjoying the fruit which will keep us in perfect health and total harmony with our King, our Savior, the Lord Jesus. But you don’t have to wait until then, saint. Heaven can be in your heart today if you’ll choose to eat daily from the tree of His direction.