God told Adam to “dress and keep” the garden. The hebrew word for “keep” is shamar. It means to guard, defend, watch, preserve, protect. A Gardener must “keep” a garden and this means he must be watchful against weeds and pests that would harm the garden; but also it infers a careful tending to the actual plants of the garden. The word is also used in reference to “keeping” a flock, which again would mean watching against a wolf, and taking good care of the sheep.
The word shamar is used 450+ times in the Old Testament and is translated as keep (283x), observe (46x), heed (35x), keeper (28x), preserve (21x), beware (9x), mark (8x), watchman (8x), wait (7x), watch (7x), regard (5x), or save (2x). This word is used over and over again throughout the Old Testament; and in Psalm 119 alone it is used 21 times!
Great and glaring sins come as the result of small and seemingly imperceptible neglect. Over the course of a day, weeds don’t just spring up; but after neglecting a garden for enough days in a row, you’re certain to have a problem on your hands. When small weeds turn into big ones, uprooting them causes great damage to the surrounding plants that are supposed to be there. Let this be a reminder that faithful attention to listen and heed God’s word and God’s command is a habitual, moment by moment duty for a healthy, thriving soul.
Are you vigilantly guarding the garden of your soul, your family, your church, your generation? In Eden, Adam failed his job to “keep” the Garden by simply doing nothing and letting the dragon get the girl! Here’s my encouragement, take each of these statements from Psalm 119 and ask yourself, am I “keeping” God’s word and God’s ways in the manner described here by David?
Psalm 119:4-5 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
Psalm 119:8-9 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Psalm 119:17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Psalm 119:44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
Psalm 119:55 I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
Psalm 119:57 Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
Psalm 119:60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Psalm 119:88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
Psalm 119:101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Psalm 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
Psalm 119:134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
Psalm 119:136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
Psalm 119:146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
Psalm 119:158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
Psalm 119:167-168 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.