Even Better Than Eden: Ch. 9, City, Reading Discussion
Last week, we talked about how God wants to dwell with us. Out of love, He has consistently pursued His own—in the Garden, through the wilderness, and out into exile. Not content to love from a distance, He even has entered the dwelling place of fallen humanity in the fragile form of a physical body.
This chapter, I think, looks at the process from our side, our experience here on earth. Instead of a garden in Eden, we now find ourselves wandering in a desert wilderness. By trusting the words of the serpent, we make an alliance with him that has affected our image, our clothing, and our dwelling place.
But still, there is hope.
When Christ came to live among us, His death did more than just cleanse us of our sins so we can live in eternity forever. With His life, He showed us the way a redeemed person should live; with his resurrection, He made it entirely possible to walk as He did through this world.
Of course, unlike Christ, we will fail in our struggle with sin, temptation, and frailty. But now, because of Him, He has provided for us another way to live in the midst of this world but not be of it.
From the first city every recorded—Enoch, the city of Cain—fallen mankind has lived in antagonism against God. Despite its culture and technology, every human city that has set up its heart against God has eventually fallen and failed.
But interestingly, God has not asked His people to live in a separate island on their own. Rather, He has always had them live in the midst of these cities of man. And while there, He lived with them, like wheat growing among the tares.
Abraham living near Sodom.
The Israelites living among the Canaanites.
The exiles living in Babylon.
Jesus living among the sinners.
If we remember that God has called us to be fruitful and multiply, to spread His glory to the ends of the earth, and this earth is fallen, we cannot be like those who built the tower of Babel. We cannot live trying to establish God’s Kingdom in our private little hub of safety.
We must live among the broken, the sinful, the needy. God intended us to move out into the world, remember?
And so the words of Jeremiah the prophet are true for us today. We are to live our ordinary lives—planting gardens, getting married, raising families, driving to work, making dinner, and paying taxes—in a world that is not our final resting place.
Not only that, we are to be praying for the welfare of the land we live in, doing it good, being salt and light.
We’ve got work to do.
And work we must—letting God’s Story infuse our everyday, point us in the right direction, and hearten us when things get difficult.
We’re going home, but we’re not there yet.
How will this Story change your life?