Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
Yesterday we saw that humanity was created in God’s image to exercise dominion over creation. Being made in God’s likeness, however, does not make us gods. According to God’s original design, human beings were created to obey God. After Adam was formed, he was placed in the Garden of Eden. It is noteworthy that part of this idyllic environment included responsibility. Adam was put in the garden “to work it and take care of it” (v. 15).
Sin’s entrance into the world has profoundly affected the way we experience work, but it does not diminish the inherent dignity of work. Work precedes the Fall. Work as a vocation was part of God’s design for humanity from the very beginning. The infinitive construction of Genesis 2:15 (“to work” and “to take care of”) is the language of purpose. Our Creator is always at His work, and we were likewise created to work (John 5:17). His work gives dignity to our role as workers.
We should note that the idyllic environment of Eden included moral boundaries. God set limits on Adam’s behavior. He was free to eat from all the trees of the garden except for one. The Lord warned that failure to obey this command would result in death (vv. 16–17). This was not an impingement upon Adam’s freedom. That he was capable of staying within the limits God had set was itself a reflection of Adam’s original freedom. It was as easy for him to obey as it was to disobey. Tragically, Adam forfeited this “natural” freedom when he chose to ignore God’s warning. One of the things the gospel does for us is to restore the liberty of obedience. The Bible’s call to obey does not relegate us to the status of slaves. It restores to us the dignity of being children of God. We were designed to obey.
Apply the Word
How do you view obedience to God? Do you see it as a way of earning “points?” Jesus taught His disciples to obey His commands as an expression of their love (John 14:15). Every time you obey God, you show your gratitude for His gift of grace. You cannot earn God’s favor—but you can express your love to Him!