“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
An important lesson is contained in the two Hebrew words translated “dress” and “keep”.
DRESS. Hebrew AVAD. The basic meaning is to “serve”. See how the word is used elsewhere.
“To love the LORD your God, and to SERVE Him with all your heart and with all your soul,.”
“And you shall not go aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to SERVE them.”
I am reminded of a conversation I had with Farmer Ward when we first moved to Oxleigh, 33 years ago. Our house is sandwiched between two of his fields. Discussing crop rotation, he said, “Our main concern, as farmers, is to be good stewards of the land.” That’s it! Stewards, servants of the land. No better words could be found to understand Adam’s role in the Garden of Eden.
KEEP. Hebrew SHAMAR, best understood from where it occurs in the following references –
“OBSERVE the sabbath day, to sanctify it, as the Lord your God commanded you.”
“For if you carefully KEEP all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you.”
“And so it shall be with him, and he (the king) shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to OBSERVE all the words of this law and these statutes.”
Hence we have the idea of faithfulness to God to respect His Covenants. Adam was therefore asked to serve the environment of the Garden, and be faithful to the Lord in all that He asked.
This seems to sum up man’s duty in life, servanthood, and faithfulness. It’s just another way of rendering the commandment to “love the Lord your God (faithfulness), and your neighbour as yourself (servanthood)”
Growers and Manufacturers should ideally be the servants of the Wholesalers, and the Wholesalers of the Retailers, and the Retailers of the Purchasers. None should lord it over the other. If only life was like that!
References. Genesis 2:15, Deut.11:13, 28:14, 5:12, 11:22. 17:19