Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:22-23)
In this verse we see the consequence of turning away from the source of Life to embrace that which appeals to our desires — death and exile. In fact, where God’s people are concerned, the Bible makes the connection between the two; to be exiled from the Land of Promise (in this case the garden) is the equivalent of going into the grave. Here in the beginning we see the first example of what happens to God’s people when they turn from Him and embrace another philosophy (other gods).
When Israel was preparing to go into the land of Canaan, Moses warned them that, if they were not careful, they would soon turn to other gods and, consequently, be exiled from the land.
“You will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples.” (Deuteronomy 4:26-27)
However, in this same chapter of Deuteronomy, there is a promise of redemption if those who have been scattered among the nations would seek the LORD. Through the prophets, God has made multiple promises to bring all of His people into the Land of Promise if they would renounce their gods and turn back to Him. In fact, He likens it to being resurrected from the grave.
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:12)
What has this to do with us? It amplifies the fact that, though we may have suffered the consequence of turning away from God at some point, we have the promise that when we turn to Him, He will turn to us. When we set our face upon Him, He will make His face to shine upon us. And one day, we will be gathered unto Him when He rules and reigns from Jerusalem. We will commune with Him just as it was in the garden, in the beginning.
Blessings and Shalom,