A Garden of Cucumbers

by Joanna Pierce on September 13, 2017

I don’t have a green thumb, toe, earlobe, or elbow on my body. I kill things instead of helping them grow and thrive. That is all.

This is why I scratch my head at gardeners; those who have the innate ability to make things prosper in the dirt. They cultivate such wonderful florae—fresh vegetables, lovely flowers, and other lush vegetation that attracts all kinds of insects…

Okay, this may be why I can’t make things grow…I don’t like bugs, getting dirty, and I occasionally forget to water things. But, my shortcomings aside, I tip my hat to those who were born “green,” and who share their garden creations with me—especially cucumbers.

Due to my love of cucumbers (it’s a healthy obsession), I was interested in what God had to say about them when I read this Scripture:

And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city (Isaiah 1:8, KJV).

Needless to say, I was a bit disturbed. In this context, the prophet Isaiah is chastising Israel because they had become rebellious to the things of God. They were a sinful Nation, had forsaken the Lord, lived in a desolate city, and all that was left of Zion was likened unto a hut in a cucumber field (Isaiah 1:1–8).

That’s quite a bash against my beloved cucumbers.

But, I started digging to understand more of this analogy. Cucumbers in this context refers to different kinds of melons and gourds, but does encompass cucumbers. They were highly desired in that region of the world because of their “cooling” qualities. While today we might grab for an iced-cold drink on a hot day, Palestinians went for the next best thing—a cool cucumber.

Gardens were typically unfenced, and these succulent vegetables were planted in open fields. A small shelter would be in the center of the cucumber field (just large enough for 1 person) to till and guard it from folks who wanted to “help themselves.”

The key here is that the little “cottage” was only temporary. The structural integrity was not solid. When Isaiah likened the rebellious Israel to a “lodge in a garden of cucumbers,” he didn’t have anything against the cucumbers. He just noted Israel would soon be destroyed for their disobedience—just as the temporary shelter would be in a real garden of cucumbers.

The cucumbers weren’t bad themselves, but they did play a role in this analogy. The cucumbers are a warning as they represent worldliness: earthly pleasures, worship of idols, disobedience, unrighteousness, and every other thing God hates. If we plant ourselves in the middle of that field, till it, and take care of its crop, we’re just like Israel. We won’t find ourselves under a green thumb, but God’s—and He’s not going to help us grow at that point, but will destroy us.

We can’t take up residence in the middle of a cucumber garden. Don’t care for or protect the things of this world. Follow after God, His Word, and His plans. If that involves forsaking a cucumber, then do it. It’s not worth enduring His judgment and destruction.

Let’s be cautious we don’t find ourselves surrounded by cucumbers. If we do, it’s time to get out of the garden and find something else to eat.