Worship and work

Read Genesis 2:15-18

So, now God takes the man, Adam and places him in the Garden.  There he gives him work to do. He is to look after the garden, to tend/till and to guard/keep.  Notice three things here. First, we see again that he has purpose, secondly we see that he is now the one who has the responsibility for provision, third we can see how the command to tend and keep is a development of the command in chapter 1 to fill and subdue.  It has also, often been noted that the same language used here is very similar to language used to describe the work of the priests and Levites in the Tabernacle and Temple.  Adam is the first priest if you like and his work is an act of worship.

Adam is provided for too.  He is blessed and told that he can eat from the fruit of any tree in the garden with one exception, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil.  If he disobeys then he will die. The text seems to suggest immediacy.  It is my view that the word “death” describes not just the physical end of life as we cease to breath but describes exile and alienation from God’s loving presence.  The punishment for sin was not just physical death which would come in time but spiritual death which would come immediately.

Observe too that it is in the context of Adam’s  work and worship, at the point that God gives him restrictions and laws that the need for a companion/helper is identified.  Eve was intended to be alongside Adam in fulling the creation mandate, as a fellow worshipper and worker. Even was to help Adam to be holy and to help him choose life.

There are some good things for us to observe and learn at this point.  First, we see that work is a good thing and a gift from God.  We should take delight in our work and we should value it. Value comes not from the wage we receive or the status we hold in the hierarchy but in that work is obeying God’s mandate. 

Secondly, we are reminded that we are created as worshippers. Our first duty is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. 

Thirdly, we are reminded that there is more to life than our work, particularly if it becomes all consuming to the exclusion of our relationships with others.

%d bloggers like this: