Somewhere Beyond the Garden
October 23, 2016
Auntie Em, really, you know what Miss Gulch said she was gonna do to Toto? She said she was gonna….
Now Dorothy, dear, stop imagining things. You always get yourself into a fret over nothing. Now you just help us out today and find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble!
Someplace where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon. Beyond the rain.
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high. There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star. And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops. That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh, why can’t I? If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow. Why, oh, why can’t I?
Such are the lyrics to the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” performed most famously by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
This song resonates with so many people. It is a song about a better place. A place where there isn’t any trouble. A place that is wished for and dreamt of. A place far away, over and beyond the rainbow.
Today’s scripture would have resonated with the people of Israel and the saints of old. For they would have known Genesis 2. As such people beheld the promised land of Canaan, they would have thought of the place that Canaan pointed forward to, a place where there isn’t any trouble. A place behind the curtain. A place beyond the reach of Moses. As such people wept in exile away from their earthly homeland, they would have thought of somewhere beyond the garden of Eden way up high. For there’s a land that they heard of once in a reading of Genesis. Somewhere beyond the garden, God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - and they are there. And such people would have thought, “If they are there, then why, oh why, can’t I?” Such people would have endured sufferings and trials and said with faith, “Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops. That’s where you’ll find me.”
I hope that the beginning of Genesis resonates with you. I hope that it grabs your heart and takes a hold of your mind. And I hope that you would be encouraged this morning, as we wait for the return of Christ and look forward to the end that is so wonderfully wrapped up in the beginning.
As we wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us consider the following in light of today’s Scripture.
First, let us be humble and remember that God is the source of life. When God created man, he made him out of dust from the ground. He did not make Adam out of gold. He did not even make Adam out of the ground. He made Adam out of dust from the ground. How humbling is that? Furthermore, Adam only became a living creature after God breathed life into him. Let me remind you how utterly mysterious this is. To this day, no one knows exactly how the human soul is connected to the human body. But we do know that God gives life to each and every human being. And we know that God takes that life away. This is very humbling. We are not God. And apart from him, we have no earthly life and/or eternal life.
Second, as we wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us have joy of salvation. Jesus victoriously laid hold of the tree of life. The tree of life was a symbol of glorious sabbath rest, and Christ has obtained it. Our Lord earned what Adam did not earn and what we could never earn. Jesus secured for us eternal life and perfect communion with God. This is the best. This is the point of life. This is our happiness. There is nothing better than being right with our Creator. Let us have joy of salvation, and let there be in our hearts a peace that surpasses all understanding and a contentment that is of great gain.
Third, as we wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us have love for who he is and reverence for what he did. When Adam failed to access the tree of life, God put cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. And that sword of dreadful wrath and holy majesty and divine judgment and infinite power came down upon the Lion of Judah who became the Lamb that was slain. Christ suffered and died. But Christ rose again from the dead, which means that his righteousness scored a perfect 100%. Think about how he never sinned during his entire earthly life. Think about how he performed as such for you. And think about how there is no sword now, for according to Revelation the tree of life is now right there in front of us, eternal life being open and clear to us who are in Christ.
Fourth, as we wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us look forward to the new heavens and the new earth. Eden was a good place, but it was not the best. The best place is a place without testing. A place without a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A place without the threat of death. A place without the possibility of sin. And a place with way better stuff than gold or bdellium or onyx and a river that will make the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris and the Euphrates very average. The best is yet to come. Let us look forward to the best time and place that God has promised to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Brothers and sisters, please put the Lord Jesus Christ first and wait for him. He loves you. And I want you to be happy in him. I want you to have an assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. I want you to look forward to the future that God has promised. A place that is somewhere beyond the garden.