the first command
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying,
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,
for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
The second part of Chapter 2 begins to reveal the dynamics of the relationship between God and man. First, we see in Genesis 2:16-17 that God gave a clear and simple command, forbidding man from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The giving of the command shows that God expected man to keep His word. We recognize that God’s expectation is perfectly reasonable since He was man’s ruler (should we say, sovereign?). Of course, it only makes sense that God was the ruler since He was man’s Creator.
Granted, this is a very simple observation, but one that seems overlooked in these days. Mankind seems to often think that keeping God’s word is optional.
Secondly, we see that God gave man the choice to obey His word or disregard it. He could have placed angels with flaming swords to guard the tree (Genesis 3:34) or planted the tree on a remote island, but He placed the tree in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9) with no obstacles around it. God designed the setting so that man’s only motivation for obedience was the word of God. From this, I think we can safely conclude God’s intent was that man’s obedience would not be compulsory but would come from a heart willing to keep His word.
It is God’s delight to have man willingly keep His word. I think we who are parents can identify with this delight. We find it is a great joy to have a child willingly decide to keep our commands.