A. During a quick trip to the park recently, the kids immediately started climbing trees, but I had to let Hunter know he’s allergic to the one he was in. He can eat all the olives he wants, but olive trees are a problem. It’s helpful to know what they look like. I failed to realize how common they were in our neighborhood until we found out about his allergy.
B. Trees play a prominent role in Scripture, not just the ones that occur normally in nature, like the sycamore Zacchaeus climbed or the fig tree Jesus cursed. Notice a few outstanding trees.
I. “THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL”
A. Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17
Notice the tree bearing forbidden fruit was set in the middle of the garden. Overcoming temptation sometimes involves removing the object of temptation to some distance; sometimes, though, it means bearing up and simply resisting. God expected Adam and Eve to overcome, and that lesson is worth some personal application.
B. Genesis 3:1-6; 1st John 2:16
1. The three qualities by which the fruit appealed to the woman match the three categories into which all sin may be classified, just as the temptations of Christ did (Matthew 4:1-11). Every soul must guard against these temptations.
2. Notice the woman provided a detail about God’s law that was previously unmentioned. It is possible He did forbid the pair from touching the tree, but it may be the case that she exaggerated His rule, attempting to make God seem harsher than He really was.
C. Deuteronomy 1:39
Although Adam and Eve partook of that fruit, there remains a portion of mankind yet unaware of the difference between good and evil: children, little ones because they haven’t yet learned.
D. Hebrews 5:14; Isaiah 5:20
Those who aren’t children, however, are obligated to grow up and recognize the distinction between good and evil. To confuse them is to be cursed.
E. Genesis 3:7; 2:24
The first observation Adam and Eve made when they gained moral awareness is that nudity is a source of shame. It is right to cover the body.
F. Genesis 3:13, 16; 1st Timothy 2:11-14
For her part, the woman was assigned a submissive role to man. It remains so still.
G. Genesis 3:9-12, 17-19; 2nd Thessalonians 3:10
For his part, the man was assigned exhausting labor. Such is still necessary.
H. Genesis 3:14-15; Galatians 4:4
The serpent was told that the seed of woman would crush his head, and Jesus is that prophecy’s fulfillment.
II. “THE TREE OF LIFE”
A. Genesis 2:8-9, 16
The tree providing life was situated near the forbidden tree, but it’s not the one Adam and Eve chose to eat from. Sin is always like that; the opportunity to choose is ever present, but the wrong choice is the most common.
B. Genesis 3:22-24
Having failed to choose wisely in the first place, the couple were thereafter prevented further access to the tree of life. A heavenly sentinel secured the way.
C. Isaiah 51:3; Revelation 2:7; 22:1-2, 14
Fortunately, Paradise may be regained. The Lord has renewed man’s access to the tree of life by overcoming tribulation and temptation and by keeping His commands.
D. 1st John 2:25
Eternal life is precisely what we’re after.
III. THE CROSS OF CHRIST
A. Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1st Peter 2:24
Several times, the implement by which the King of kings was executed is identified as a tree, which is simply another way of saying the cross was wooden. It was on the tree that Christ became our curse and bore our sins.
B. Galatians 6:14
It is the one thing Christians should be proud of.
C. 1st Corinthians 1:18
It may seem foolish to the worldly, but it’s our salvation!
D. Colossians 1:20
Through the cross we gain peace and reconciliation.
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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