Devotion 1 in the series All in a Day's Work: Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15, 19-20

Created to Work

Created to Work_girl in office at computer

Welcome to the series “All in a Day’s Work.” Whether you pick up after children all day, work in an office or factory, minister to others, or putter around with a hobby, you’ll find insights from God’s Word as to why it is we do our daily tasks and what God calls us to in that work.

Today, we start at the very beginning: If you have time, read all of Genesis 1 and 2. Select verses that have to do with work are printed for you below.

Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15, 19-20 (ESV)

From Genesis 1

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

From Genesis 2

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Digging into God’s Word

Why is it that we wash the dishes, pick up the toys (over and over and over again), type at the computer, fix machines, build products, organize people and events, strive to meet deadlines, or negotiate contracts? On the surface, it might seem like we do these things either to earn a paycheck or, if we spend our days looking after a household, we might pick up dishes, laundry, and toys to keep from going crazy!

Could it be that there is a deeper reason for all of this productivity? Could it be we were created to work?

We might picture the garden of Eden as vacation-like, with Adam and Eve wandering aimlessly or lounging on bamboo mats, sipping pineapple juice. Idyllic it was, but it was not without productivity!

Notice that already in these initial verses of the Bible, God had given Adam and Eve tasks to do:

  • Be fruitful and multiply.
  • Subdue the earth and have dominion over the animals.
  • Take care of the garden of Eden: Various translations use the words tend, guard, cultivate, work, and keep the garden.
  • Name the living creatures–quite a big task!

Not only that, but check out chapter 2, verse 15, emphasis mine:

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Every translation uses the word put or placed in this verse: God hand-picked where He wanted Adam to be and put him in that spot. In the same way, God places us in specific settings to do unique work.

It is often difficult to get out of bed and tackle the day. Understanding that what we do and where we work has purpose from God might make hearing that morning alarm easier. What work has God called you to do? Where has He placed you to do that work?

Digging Deeper

As you are able, spend time with God, reflecting on these questions or journaling your thoughts.

  1. What work has God called you to do? Talk with God about how it is going.
  2. Where has God placed you to do your work? Can you see with spiritual eyes why you might be in that spot?
  3. Bring before God people, situations, relationships, or challenges that you face in your daily tasks. Ask Him for wisdom and whatever else it is you need–energy, patience, or ideas. He is faithful to supply all of our needs!

Extra Info!

I love this stuff! In Genesis 1, we have the thrilling presence of the Trinity: “one divine being who exists in three persons who are co-equal and co-eternal” (from Paired with John 1, which speaks of Jesus being present at creation, we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all involved in the creation of the world.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Of great interest, the plural form of God, Elohim, appears in Genesis 1:1, and notice the plural pronouns in 1:26 (emphasis mine): “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'”

The same article offers these insights: “The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. I [Harris, Archer, Waltke], has the following to say about Elohim, from which we get the word God in 1:1:

Elohim. God, gods, judges, angels. This word, which is generally viewed as the plural of eloah, is found far more frequently in Scripture than either el or eloah for the true God. The plural ending is usually described as a plural of majesty and not intended as a true plural when used of God. This is seen in the fact that the noun elohim is consistently used with a singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular.

Another interesting nugget, from a footnote in the ESV version of the Bible regarding chapter 1, verse 26: “The Hebrew word for man (adam) is the generic term for mankind and becomes the proper name Adam.”

Join us for more! You’ll be able to find upcoming devotions for the series “All in a Day’s Work” at this link. And be sure to sign up to have devotions delivered straight to your inbox on Mondays and Thursdays.

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