DAY 7 NOMAD
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Among the consequences of Adam and Eve's fractured relationship with God was banishment from their first home. As much as anything, the Old Testament is the story of the quest for a place of belonging and God's ever-patient openness to provide for this deepest of need.
Abraham was the first to receive the promise of nationhood and land. Three generations later, his growing family of descendants fled famine to Egypt only to end up as slaves for 400 years. After that, there were 40 years of wandering the desert, and then, finally, entry into the Promised Land. But it was not the forever home of their dreams, as it turned out. Humankind has never been able to resist the urge to rebel against God – and God will not be mocked.
Israel's exile to Babylon in the 6th Century BC caused pain that echoed through many centuries, touching nerves that themselves reach back all the way to Eden. The perpetual, nagging sense of homesickness that seems to dog so many of us also goes back to that earliest history. You don't have to look far to see it echoed in the culture around us – from careerism to the commodification of dating, we're constantly building surrogate 'homes' in an attempt to recapture Eden.
Jesus knows what it's like to be literally homeless. He left heaven for earth, his mother gave birth to him far from the comforts of home because of the census, and he was a refugee in Egypt as a toddler and an itinerant for his last three years. He was willing to live in this way to end our wandering. His invitation stands: 'Live in me. Make your home in me, just as I do in you' (John 15:4, MSG).
Lord, sometimes I have a sense of rootlessness that makes me wonder if there is anywhere I actually belong. Help me remember that I belong in and to you. I choose to put my roots down in your love, trusting your promise that my home is eternal. As I do, please work through me to give the people around me a taste of the 'home' they're truly looking for– so they might turn to you.