As I spend time in Genesis 1-4 every Monday, I’m continually amazed and grateful to meditate on how God has and is revealing Himself to those whom He has created in His image. A few months ago it also struck me that it’s also my family history in a way. That realization came when reviewing chapter four where Cain murders Abel, but I realized that chapter two also gives some really good family history. In keeping with last week’s post, I want to focus more on God’s goodness in and of Himself and in the gifts He gives.
We see (at least!) three gifts given in this chapter:
- The gift of the Sabbath
- The gift of purposeful work
- The gift of marriage & the way it points to Christ & the church
First, the Sabbath:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” – Genesis 2:1-3
We know from Psalm 121:4 that, unlike us, God doesn’t need sleep or grow weary. He blessed and sanctified the seventh day to manifest His perfect Kingship and for our good. Jesus explains this to the Pharisees after they get angry about his disciples picking grain on the Sabbath:
“Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27-28
Because the Sabbath day is a blessed and sanctified day, let’s ask God to enable us to receive this gift as we ought. For more passages about the Sabbath, see Exodus 20:9-11, Isaiah 56:2, Luke 8:6-10, and Hebrews 4:8-10.
Following the gift of the Sabbath, God grants the blessing of the meaningful work that’ll fill up the other six days of the week:
“The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed….” -Genesis 2:8
“…Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15
God chose the location and planted the garden first, then He gave Adam stewardship over it. The perfect world untainted by sin wasn’t one where God’s image bearers lounged around plucking grapes from vines and looking regal. God created people with complex minds and incredible bodies. From the beginning humans were made to glorify Him with every action, to reflect His goodness and experience unfettered joy while they did so.
Adam is then given a specific task to perform:
“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” – Genesis 2:19
Every day after I memorize, I text my Mom and my sister Caroline that part. I remember when I sent them verse 19, my Mom remarked that it was an extremely cerebral job and shows us that God had made Adam with a pretty stellar intellect.
It’s truly amazing how God planted the garden and then brought Adam to it. The Creator formed the living creatures first, then tasked Adam with naming them. The reality I find here is simple, but it’s changed the way I see my day-to-day work in a big way: God created each object and living being that I work with. We will be getting into the way the curse affects work next week. Still, even with the way that affects work on earth today, knowing that God planned and prepped Adam’s work space for Him brings me hope and much joy. His character is unchanging. If you’re in Christ He has prepared your work in advance, too!
“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
Finally, we come to the gift of marriage. As a result of that gift, more people would be born to fill up the earth with reflectors of God’s image (Genesis 1:28).
“The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”- Genesis 2:20-25
This account is one that, because I grew up hearing and reading it, I hadn’t taken the the time to consider in more depth until recently. God saw that Adam needed a suitable helper, and in His divine wisdom He created the woman from Adam’s own flesh. Once again, God ensures that Adam is present, but He is the One creating and gifting good things for His glory and His people’s good. Adam isn’t recorded as asking God for Eve. God is just that generous and that good.
As an aside, Christians must be well-versed in God’s ordination of marriage and His desired will for the way it should be regarded in thought and in practice. May we be ready to share about the goodness of God’s design for marriage with those who may not be aware of it. Satan circulates many lies about marriage, but God’s truth remains and He is forgiving and able to restore anyone who turns to Him. He can set captives free and heal the broken-hearted.
It’s been very edifying to consider the origin of the gift of marriage each week, both in regards to my own marriage and even more so the way it foreshadows profound mystery of Christ as the perfect bridegroom and the church as His ransomed bride (Ephesians 5:32). Jesus is the perfect second Adam, and His marriage to the church will last forever. May we rejoice in this great hope!
I’ll be switching posting days from Monday to Wednesday, so I’ll be back next week with reflections on Genesis 3.