Posted by: Brian Musser | April 13, 2014

Describing God Through Work

Work-Ship – Week One:  God Works – Day Four: Describing God through Work

In Scripture, God reveals parts of Himself and His nature through many work related metaphors and images.  Let’s take a few moments to examine some of them.

Psalm 139:13-16 (HCSB)

13 For it was You who created my inward parts
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

This is a popular Psalm and quoted quite often in respect to the care God puts into the specific creation of each and every individual.  One of the main images in the Psalm is that of God working on humans in the womb as a weaver knits.  Through this metaphor there is something we can learn about how God works through watching someone knit with care.

John 15:1-8 (HCSB)

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

In this passage Jesus uses the metaphor of a vine dresser or vineyard keeper or in more general terms a gardener to describe God.  God works in people’s lives as a vine dresser works in a vineyard.  We can learn a little something about how God is transforming us into the image of His Son as we watch a gardener at work.

Psalm 23: 1-4 (HCSB)

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
4 Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.

Perhaps the most common work related metaphor throughout Scripture that is used to describe God is that of the shepherd.  God cares for us as a shepherd cares for the sheep.  This is a very apt metaphor for God’s watch-care over His people and in Biblical times it was an extremely common profession.  Shepherds have an tremendous opportunity to display some part of God’s nature through their work.  The image of God can be on display through the work of a shepherd.

Jeremiah 18:1-10 (HCSB)

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.
The word of the Lord came to me: “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy it. However, if that nation I have made an announcement about turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the disaster I had planned to do to it. At another time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom. However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will relent concerning the good I had said I would do to it.

God’s controlling, shaping and forming work within the lives of the nation of Israel can be see in the metaphor of a potter at work with his clay.  As we think about God’s work within history on the large scale, among nations and event we can better understand his actions as you look at the example of the potter with clay.

And our last example for the day is:

Isaiah 1:24-25 (HCSB)

24 Therefore the Lord God of Hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
“Ah, I will gain satisfaction from My foes;
I will take revenge against My enemies.
25 I will turn My hand against you
and will burn away your dross completely;
I will remove all your impurities.

God is at work purifying people like a metal-worker burns away the dross and removes impurities.  We can see a little reflection of God in the work of a smith.

With these as examples hopefully, it is easy to see how God’s image can shine through us as we work.  Because God is a worker and because God is able to be described metaphorically through work; on some small level we can look like God in our work.

How can you display God’s image in your work?

Take a moment to ask God to use your work to display Himself to others.


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