Genesis 2:10-15 — God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:10-15

The second two rivers mentioned, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, we know of today. We know their location, in fact, you can go to Bing Maps right now and find the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates, just to the North of Basrah, in Iraq, which I’ve marked on the map with an orange push pin. Interestingly, the headwaters of these two rivers are not very far apart — both are found in East Central Turkey. Although we don’t know the location of the other two rivers, perhaps, the location of the Tigris and Euphrates headwaters gives us a clue as to the location, or former location of the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 2:15 we read, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” I was reading an article recently on stress that listed the top 10 stressors in life. Guess what? Retirement made the top 10! Here in Genesis 2:15 we see that God has created this perfect environment for Adam and notice that, included in the perfect environment, is work! God has designed us to work. Over the years as I’ve watched friends deal with unemployment and retirement I’ve seen all kinds of problems as a result of leading a life without it, without work. According to the American Journal of Public Health men who are unemployed experience more somitization (similar to hypochondriasis), anxiety, and depression than those who are employed. The unemployed also take more medications, visit their doctors more, and spend more time in bed sick even when the unemployed and employed receive the same number of diagnoses.

In Mark chapter 1 Jesus saw some of the disciples working, they were fishing to be exact. As he passed by them He called to them and said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17) Perhaps God has blessed you in such a way that you’re in a position where you don’t have to work. That’s great! God is good. He’s given you time that most others don’t have. I want to encourage you to use it for His glory. I know of a number of people in this position — several use their time volunteering at a dump in Mexico, they minister to the impoverished people there, several others I know have dedicated themselves to helping in their church. Use your time to influence people for God’s kingdom. Use your time to fish for men!

If you are perhaps younger, and you have to work to provide for your family, as I do, then give thanks to God for your job if you’re employed. And if you’re not employed, I want to encourage you to work as God desires you to. A number of years ago a friend of mine worked a job in a cabinet shop for less money than what he would have made had he collected unemployment. Some said that he was a fool to take less money, just so he could continue to work, but during this time, I could see the Lord doing a work in this man. His attitude and his work ethic were growing. Conversely, I’ve watched friends take their unemployment and enter into a downward spiral of inactivity. Their initiative eroded away. If you can’t find work for pay, then work for free. Help in the children’s ministry, find a widow or someone fatherless who’s in need and help them — these are things that are pure and faultless in God’s sight. (James 1:27)

As with everything God directs us to do, we’ll be at our best, at our healthiest, and at our happiest when we’re in the flow of God’s will.

God wants you to work.



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

American Journal of Public Health

Genesis 2:1-3 — The Seventh Day — Rest

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Genesis 2:1-3

Here we see that God has finished His creative work and rests on the seventh day. He doesn’t need to rest. He’s God. He’s omnipotent. Rather He rests as someone who has just finished a great work and desires to step back and enjoy it.

Notice also that God has blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The Sabbath day is a gift to you and to me. And yet it’s been my observation that the practice of observing the Sabbath among Christians is becoming increasingly rare. This is contrary to God’s word. The Sabbath is a holy day, it’s a day in which we’re to commune with God, it’s a day in which we’re to visit His house, and it’s a day in which we’re to rest.

Do you ever feel as though you can’t string together five minutes without being interrupted by a phone call, a text, a tweet, or an email? The variety of forms of communication today is staggering. Telephones calls, cell phone calls, television, the web, texting, tweeting, emailing — all of these make it more difficult than ever to rest. In large part, because of these technologies, people are now exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements a day — according to a recent article by CBS news. That’s 5,000 attempts to convince you that you need to spend your money, 5,000 instances of potential influence toward working more to earn more to buy more. It’s more difficult than ever to slow down and rest.

God blessed the Sabbath day, rest is a blessing, and God intends for us to rest. Do you realize that the stress in your life is, to a great degree, a function of an absence of rest? Think about it: imagine the recreational activity that you enjoy performing more than any other activity in life, now imagine with me that you’re about to engage in that activity, now imagine that you’re completely bone tired, yet you’re still obligated to perform that activity. It’s not enjoyable anymore! Even that which is most enjoyable to us when we’re rested, is not when we’re worn out. And, by the way, the greater the energy required to perform an activity, the greater the rest required to ready yourself to perform it.

When we find ourselves outside of God’s design for us to rest one out of seven days, we cause ourselves unneccessary hardship.

Oh, and for those of us who have the opposite problem, notice that God designated six days in which we are to work!

Finally, as important as the Sabbath is, we must recognize that the Sabbath is only a shadow of Jesus. The Sabbath day, the day of rest that God took after finishing His creative work, the day that He blessed and made holy, is a shadow of Jesus. Of course a shadow is only formed from something of substance and Jesus is that substance from which the shadow of the Sabbath is formed. We’re no longer under the law. We no longer have to labor to earn righteousness before God, but rather, we can rest in Jesus because He, Jesus, is our righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30) On the Sabbath day we’re to rest, but on every day, we as believers, are to rest in Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Dr. Jim Loehr, Human Performance Institute

Caitlin A. Johnson, CBS

Chuck Smith

Matthew Henry