Worship in the Garden
Genesis 2:15 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
In Genesis 2 we find what many scholars believe to be a reiteration of the creation narrative but here more focused on humans. The line here in verse 15 is particularly pertinent to our study of living a redemptive life. Here we find a quick snapshot of humanity’s purpose as described in Genesis 1:26-31, which we will talk about tomorrow.
The language of this verse is absolutely fascinating. First, the word translated put is the Hebrew word ruah which is more often translated to rest. It is often used to describe the Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:11; 23:12). The the infinitive to work (‘abad) is often used in the rest of the Pentateuch to refer to service to God through working in the temple (Deut. 28:47). The other infinitive, to keep (shamar), is also often used to refer to keeping or guarding or protecting the law by obeying it (Lev. 18:5). These concepts are more at home with the Levites worshiping in the tabernacle, the temple and the Israelites in the Promised Land than they are in references to gardening. Certainly Moses’ original audience, the people of Israel coming into the Promised Land, would see this connection. Working and keeping the garden then were acts of worship for the first humans. With these worship connotations in mind, humanity was created and placed in the garden less to be gardeners and more to be worshippers by working and keeping the garden.
The creation of man in the garden is then meant to be a symbol of the tabernacle and temple where God’s presence dwelt and worship of God was carried out. It also represents the Promised Land of Israel where God’s people work and keep his law and rule that specific land area under God’s authority. As we will see through this series, the story of Scripture is of a return to this idyllic Eden state in the new creation where our worship will be us ruling, working and keep the earth fully in the presence of God.
The audio below is a recording of the devotional above. ff to 2:40 for additional content. Today the additional content is Jon and I discussing this topic of worship in the garden.