This morning, in my Bible study group, someone mentioned this verse – despite the fact that we are studying the book of Revelation! – Anyway, my friend wondered what would the sound of the Lord God as he walked in the garden actually be?
An interesting question.
For me, it is like the whisper of grasses by a stream on a summer’s evening. A gentle, cool, refreshing Presence.
I grew up with singing in my house. My mother had a beautiful singing voice and our home was often filled with music. Each Sunday evening after supper, friends and family would gather around the piano and sing together. One of my favourites was the following hymn, written by C Austin Miles:
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing. [Refrain]
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Tho’ the night around me be falling;
But He bids me go; thro’ the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling. [Refrain]
As a child, and even now, as an adult, I imagine myself there, in the garden. I feel the quiet security of knowing Him, the One who waits for me to join Him, the One who will fill my heart and soul with the melody of His love.
Sadly, in that other garden, back in Genesis 3:8, we read that the man and his wife “hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden.”
I wonder, are there things in our lives that cause us to hide from the Lord God? Even as He is coming to join us in the garden? Do we hear the gentle sound of His Presence, and turn away?
The Genesis account shows us that, even when we try to hide, the Lord God still seeks us out. “Where are you?” He called. And He is calling still; ‘Where are you?’
Where are you?
Are you coming to meet Him in the garden, ready and eager to share unspeakable joy with Him? Or are you turning away, trying to hide?
Adam and Eve had reason to turn away, they had sinned and they didn’t know how to deal with it. They had not yet understood the mercy and love of God. Yes, their moment of pleasure in eating the forbidden fruit cost them dear, BUT “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
Can you imagine the heartbreak that the Lord must have felt as he pieced together those garments? He hadn’t needed to provide them before, because Adam and Eve had not known what shame was, had not needed the protection of clothing.
How much greater was His heartbreak when He made the garments of our salvation. Jesus died on the cross so that our shame can be covered over, erased, eradicated. He wraps us up in His arms of love. “God made us alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”
We do not need to be ashamed or too afraid to meet the Lord , because He has forgiven us. “I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10
So, what does the sound of the Lord God as He is walking in your garden mean to you? Is it peace and security? Joy and release? Relaxation and refreshment?
What do you look forward to as you come to meet Him there? He is waiting and calling for you.
“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit to me is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banqueting hall, and his banner over me is love.” Song of Songs 2: 3-4