Daniel 6.25-27; 7.13-14
East of Eden is a beautiful phrase. It is poetic and yet loaded with significance. When Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden they travelled east.
Travelling east of Eden simultaneously holds within its brief syllables the deep, inexpressible sorrow of exile and the rich hope of heading towards that place where the sun will rise again.
Daniel knew all about the bitterness of exile and captivity. The Israelites were punted about between several nations until they were captives of captives of captives. During that time, their captors tried to have Daniel and then his three friends killed for refusing to worship anyone other than God.
Daniel had various dreams during that time. Part of that was God promising an end to their current exile but God’s promise of deliverance was not limited to this single earthly ethnicity and would be far greater than the petty war games of the Persian/Syrian/Babylonian empires of the day.
After the Fall we were effectively exiled from Eden and worse, banished from God’s presence to be captive to sin. We’re born in that state, we live in that state and, but for the grace of God, we die that way.
We live like this, exiles, captives wandering far from the kingdom but God desires that our wrong be made right and our relationship with him be healed.
Were God the cruel and malicious deity that many today believe him to be, he would watch us and mock us as we stray further and further from him. He would leave us fettered in the unbreakable chains of our own sinfulness and he would goad us as we died tangled in our bonds.
But praise God that he’s not like that. We could not earn our freedom, every attempt only tightened our chains. Instead, he came to earth as a human and paid the price we could never have paid on our own.
He frees us, he sets our feet back on the pat, not back to Eden but onward towards a better, a heavenly country where a city is prepared.
So why did Jesus come? Because we are hopelessly captive to sin and darkness and only he can set us free.
No one ever told us how hard this life could be,
They only ever told us we could set our own hearts free.
We realised e lie as we tried and tried again
Till grace cut through our anguish and cast away our chains.
Today’s song: O Come, O Come Emmanuel