A River out of Eden

river-refection "In the language of China there is hardly a more suggestive or challenging word than crisis. It is made up of two characters, way gee. Each of these is half a word, the first being danger and the second opportunity. Hence a "crisis" is literally a "dangerous opportunity." Thus Earle H. Ballou wrote.

Last week I was driving down a main boulevard in Springfield MO. A man forced his way past me with oncoming traffic, narrowly missing a major accident, and then 20 yards ahead he turned right, into a Taco Bell. He made a choice with a dangerous opportunity".

When God created you and me, He gave us the free will to make our own choices. Only so could He find those who would serve Him willingly.  This was the dangerous opportunity that faced the whole of creation, and still pervades our life today. Let us look at what the Bible has to say concerning our Choices.

Photo Credit: Ben Earwicker, Garrison Photography, Boise, ID

Genesis 2: 7-10.

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads."

Revelation 22: 10-17.

"And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

Ezekiel 47:12

"And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine."

1) The Bible begins and ends with a Garden.

The Septuagint translators use the word ‘Paradise' for the Garden. God's intention was that man should be happy here on earth.God's intention was that man should be happy here on earth.

2) The Source of every Garden is Water.

In the first Garden the waters divided into four heads, or rivers.
In the last there is no division of the Waters,
In Eden Man sinned against the Lord God and from then there were divided streams of Righteousness and unrighteousness. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, Seth remained in the Presence of God.
Here is the root of all the confusion and dysfunction in our world today. Man did not merely become bad by degrees. He sinned and was separated from God. Some Sinners are Big Sinners and others are small Sinners, but the Bible says we have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God.

3) God provided trees in Eden for Man.

God will again will provide trees of life and healing in the Millennium, but for us to become partakers of this privilege we need to see the One Tree that God himself furnished that we might be reconciled to God.
That tree stands on a hill outside the Holy City and beckons all to come and find cleansing from sin and uncleanness. It is the Tree of Calvary, the Old Rugged Cross, where Jesus was lifted up for us.

4) The Cross was no accident.

The Cross was God's way to take your sin and mine that we might find cleansing in the stream of God's forgiveness. John 3:16. For the Christian this is an exhortation to identify the filthiness of this world and separate yourself to the things that will last forever. If you have not yet found Jesus as your own personal Savior, this is your Crisis, your dangerous opportunity to find the Cleansing of your past, and a new life in Jesus Christ.

Revelation 22 exhorts us to be HOLY, AND READY, AND DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, for He is coming quickly.

On New Year's Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, overtook and downed him sixty-five yards away, just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, which was the ultimate margin of victory.

That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: "What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?" The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby.
If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, "Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second."

The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Still he didn't move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, "Roy, didn't you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second."

Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man's tears. "Coach," he said, "I can't do it to save my life. I've ruined you. I've ruined the University of California. I've ruined myself. I couldn't face that crowd in the stadium to save my life."

Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegels' shoulder and said to him: "Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over." And Roy Riegels went back. Those Tech men will tell you they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half.
We take the ball and run in the wrong direction. We stumble and fall and are so ashamed of ourselves that we never want to try again. And God comes to us and bends over us in the person of His Son and says, "Get up and go on back; the game is only half over." That is the gospel of the grace of God. It is the gospel of a second chance, of a third chance, of the hundredth chance.

God is giving you another chance today. The choice is yours. Will you take it ?

Jim Cole-Rous. © 2014