Man has created an environment of labor saving devices. These allow us to do many other things we would rather do. However, are they really profitable? Have they helped us realize God’s grace blessing and His work in other areas, or do they contribute to the entitlement attitude that says someone else should serve us and should do our work.
Moses recorded that work was part of the blessing of living in the pre-curse environment in the Garden of Eden. He wrote regarding God’s sovereign plan for man, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15) There are several very interesting concepts in this verse.
First, God is the subject of each of the actions, so we know Divine wisdom, planning and purpose are behind each of the actions.
Secondly, God put the man in the garden. The word “put” is the Hebrew word nuach and it is hiphil, which means God put him there, but also put him to rest there. The verb is used in Genesis 19:6, where God “put” Lot out of Sodom – out of the city – wanting to put him to rest away from the torment of being in the immoral city (2 Peter 2:8). The word is also used in 1 Kings 13: 29 for putting to rest a body on a donkey. Wow, my work is my rest! God intends for us to understand that man is to trust God to work through him and he is to rest in God’s work! Sounds very much like Paul’s conclusion, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20 NKJ)
I am working as He is working, but that is rest, because I rely upon His work through me. It is working in the kingdom of God, rather than the kingdom of Bryan. Anything else is work for me and that’s torments (2 Pet. 2:8) and unease.
Thirdly, the last two words, “tend and keep,” are both simple verbs (qal), and could be translated, “serve and guard” it. The word for “serve” is the same work used in Genesis 2:5, which was mentioned in the previous post “Serve the ground.” The word for “keep” or “guard” or “watch” it. God established work and watching as divine mandates for living. Work is a good thing. Watching and keeping or guarding the ground is wisdom in action. This does not mean every tree must be hugged, but it also does not mean that man can be careless about what he does with the environment. He should work it and watch it so that it will be a blessing in his generation and in the generations to come. Man should do what is necessary to ensure production and then guard it or protect it so that outside forces do not infringe or harm it, like the enemy Satan would. Work was man’s rest before the fall and part of what God teaches us for the normal godly life. It’s just that after the fall, work is by the sweat of the brow (Gen. 3:19).
Fourthly, God’s paradise was a place of work. The Greek word used in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew is “paradeiso” from which we get garden [of Eden]. Hopefully you can see we get the word “paradise” from the Greek word for garden. Man thinks of leisure and rest in paradise, but God put man to work in paradise! Praise God for good work! Are you thinking God’s way or man’s way?