Posted by: Brian Musser | April 19, 2014

The Father’s Sustaining Work

Work-Ship – Week Two:  The Father At Work – Day Ten:  The Father’s Sustaining Work

Last week we came to the conclusion that our definition of work must be based on God’s work.  If we are going to figure out what work is, how we are supposed to work and the proper place work should have in our lives it must be rooted in the way God works.  So we are going to spend a significant amount of time over the next several weeks looking at the work of God.  To organize this conversation about the work of God we are going to explore God’s work through the lens of the Trinity.

  • Week Two – The Father at Work
  • Week Three – The Son at Work
  • Week Four – The Spirit at Work

As we have seen several times during this study, God created the heavens and the earth.  But after God creates He does not leave it alone.  He continues to manage it and sustain the creation through His guidance and watch-care.  God takes care of His creation.  God continues to work in and with all that He has made.  Let us spend some time reading Psalm 104.   Below are the verses 5 – 30.

Psalm 104:5-30 (NIV)

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.
9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
to their labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.

The entire Psalm is awesome but I just wanted to point out a few key parts in the selected verses above.  Verses five through nine are about God’s creative work.  We see much of the same language and descriptions as we did in Job 38.  God sets boundaries, establishes places and mark borders creating the universe as we know it.  But then in verse ten throughout the rest of the passage it changes from the work that God had done in creating to the work that God is doing sustaining creation.

I emboldened some of the great lines but let’s just look at the last four verses;  Psalm 104: 27 -30.  God gives all creatures their food at the proper time from His hand.  They fear the lack of God’s presence.  God’s breath provides their life.  God’s Spirit creates them and renews the ground.  God is intimately and constantly involved in the everyday and every breath processes of His creation.  God is still working sustaining that which He has created.

This sustaining nature of God’s work is a very consistent and repetitive process.  Do you have a piece of your work that is repetitive in its nature?  Do you have daily tasks that you must do in order for things to run properly?  Many of us have occupations where we have to do the same thing over and over again.  Nurses, parents, teachers, bus-drivers and cooks provide many of the same services every day.  Their jobs are never completed.  Their tasks of sustaining others renew themselves on a daily basis.  Secretaries, bankers, information technologists and mechanics have treat processes and equipment in similar ways.  Their work is never really done.  It is just done for the day.

As you work in a sustaining nature at you job, have you ever felt as if you were working like God?  Do you care for something or someone in the way that God cares for the creation?  How can the image of God be displayed through you as you sustain your work?

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