Yesterday we saw the creation of work that it existed prior to the fall. At the fall here in Genesis chapter 3 we see how work becomes toilsome and difficult.
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
After Adam and Eve sin and disobey the command of God, this is a part of the punishment that God gives out.
Now a different kind of work enters into the human experience. It becomes a toilsome, laborious form of work. This work is “in pain”. Instead of the lush garden producing fruit as God’s blessing, now it will produce thistles and thorns. They will eat the plants of the field, instead of the fruit of the garden. They will eat bread “by the sweat of their face”.
Note that it isn’t the work itself that is cursed though; it is the creation that is cursed. Verse 17 says, “…cursed is the ground because of you…”. The creation is no longer producing food for them as a blessing from God that they must only work and keep in that “work that is enjoyable” sort of way. The work to produce food will be incredibly difficult because the creation will resist and sort of fight back. So the difficulty in our work, the toilsome nature of it, the pain in production, the exhaustion of our bodies is a result of the curse upon creation. The work itself is not cursed. Indeed this hard work is still required to fulfill the mandate God gave the first humans in the garden.
Join us tonight for one of two courses Jon and I are leading: Redemptive Work and Cultural Engagement. Check out the Redemptive Life page for more info
Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses reflecting on the punishment of God in Genesis 3 and the fleeting nature of a human life.
Psalm 90 A PRAYER OF MOSES, THE MAN OF GOD.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?
12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!