The Bible teaches that God made man for this world. God created this world for man. He invented this place for people. God made all things and called them good. Then He created man and woman, and He called it all very good. But God didn’t create the world finished. He didn’t create the world like a piece of art meant only to hang in a gallery somewhere. He created the world as a work in progress. He created the world good and very good, and He rested from His work on the seventh day, the first Sabbath.
But in the work of creation, God established a pattern, a picture, an example and told Adam to follow it. Which is to say that God created the world good but not finished. He completed His work and rested, but God made Adam for work also. God made Adam for real work. God made Adam to be fruitful, to create, to invent, to discover, to rule creation with wisdom. And God created the woman to work with him, alongside him, to help him.
When God planted the Garden of Eden and placed Adam and Eve in it, He explained to them that the river flowing out through the middle of the garden actually split into four different river heads. God said, down the first river Pishon, you will find the land of Havilah which is full of gold. It’s good gold and there is bdellium and onyx stones there as well. Adam didn’t even know what gold was. He didn’t know where Havilah was. He didn’t know what bdellium and onyx stones were either. But God gave him these descriptions and pointed into the distance and said, You’re gonna want to go that way. What God did was give Adam the very first treasure map.
But God wasn’t done. He pointed to the other rivers: Gihon goes down to Ethiopia. Hiddekel goes toward Assyria. And the fourth river is called Euphrates, and I’m not even telling you where that one goes. This is glorious. God created the universe and the first man and the first woman, and He set them down in this lovely garden and immediately points out the world to them. But He doesn’t tell them everything. He just points and gives clues. But the point is clear. This world is loaded with glory. It’s loaded with goodness, and it was made for us. And God wants us to find it.
Solomon says that it’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, and it’s the glory of kings to search it out (Pr. 25:2). That’s what this world is for. That’s what people are for. They are for hard work. They are for late nights and early mornings. They are for digging in the dirt: inventing and discovering and uncovering and planting and building and birthing. They are for trial and error. They are for learning. They are for uncovering the glory of God in this world.
God buried treasures unfathomable in this universe. Gold is only the beginning. He buried the glories of food in the ground, and the magic that makes it grow. He buried the glories of animals in this world, and the magic that makes them live and breed. He breathed electrical currents into the world that we might learn to harness them and tame them and ride them. We whisper in their ears, and they carry messages to friends on the other side of this planet.
When God saw what He made and said it was good, He saw all that was there on the surface but He also saw all that might be found, all that might be discovered, all that would one day be uncovered. And He saw that it was good. Under the blessing of God, hard work is glory. Under the blessing of God, hard work is grace and more grace, gifts piled on top of gifts.
But you know that this treasure hunt has been interrupted, this glory has been lost. God invented the world and put his first son and daughter in a beautiful garden, and gave them the run of the place only forbidding them the fruit of one tree. God said wait. Not yet. Learn to ride the rivers first, then I will teach you wisdom. Learn the secrets of the gold beneath the earth first, then I will teach you the knowledge of good and evil.
But Adam and Eve didn’t listen to the voice that spoke the treasures of the universe. Instead, they listened to another voice, a lying voice, and they ate. Now, instead of glory there was shame. Instead of joy, there was sorrow. Instead of unending life, there would be an end and death would come upon them and all their children. They would still work, but now the ground would fight them. Thorns and weeds would grow, and their work would be cursed. Lives would be spent in futility. Men would lie and steal and cheat. Men would murder and be murdered.
And ever after, death hangs over all, the curse lies heavy on the world: Lies, betrayal, addictions, false gods, thorns and weeds – sin tangles and chokes it all. But God in His great mercy came for us and came for our broken world. He came down into this world. He came to do the hard work of salvation, the job we could never do. He came as a new Adam and rode the waves of the sea. He learned the magic of fruitfulness and taught the water to become wine. He unearthed His good friend Lazarus like gold from under ground. He told the lying serpent voices “No” and rescued those under their sway.
And finally, to redeem us all, He climbed up that ancient tree. He died like a thief, like a robber, like a Cain, like an Absalom, like a traitor. He took the death, He took the pain, He took the curse, and He took it until there was no more, until it was all finished. He went down into the ground looking for treasure, and on the third day He rose victorious leading a host of captives free. Alive forever. Our King forever. And He sat down, having finished His work of the New Creation, establishing a new Sabbath forever. And now the curse is breaking. Now all things are made new. Now death is swallowed up in victory.
Sometimes people pretend that it would be fun not to work. People talk like retirement and endless vacations would be so nice. But we know this is a lie. We were not made to rest continually. We were not made to sit back and relax all the time. We were made for work and for Sabbath. We were made to be busy. We were made to be industrious. We were made to run. We were made to study. We were made to learn and invent and cultivate and build. We were made to find gold in the ground, and to paint the air with glory. Remember the Sabbath, but now the Sabbath is the first day, the day of resurrection, the day we begin to be men and women again, the day we begin to hunt treasure again.
Jeremiah, you were made to work. You were made to create. You were made to rule in this world as a King in our Lord Jesus. It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, but it is the glory of Kings to search it out. This is why you are strong. This is what you are strong for. You are here to find glory, to dig up glory, to discover glory, to grow glory, to invent glory. But you are not good alone. You need help. And God has made a woman for you named Leslie. She is your helper. She is made for you. She was made to work with you. But what you need to see today is that she is your first glory. She is your first crown, the first fruits of all that the Lord will give you. Love her, cherish her, guard and protect her, listen to her, study her: she is your gold. She is your treasure from God. She is your chief counselor, your wisdom.
Leslie, you were also made to work. You were made to create. You were made to be fruitful and rule in this world as a Queen in our Lord Jesus. You were made to search out the glories of God. But what you need to understand today is that you are one of those glories. You have been uncovered. You have been searched for. You have been found. Jeremiah has found you, searched you out, and won you. As you look to your husband and seek to be his helper in this world, you will grow in that glory. And your children will be like jewels in your home, in your crown. Do not be afraid, Jesus has made a way, and now not even death can hold you.
And as your children and grandchildren and your neighbors and co-workers and friends watch you chasing after the glory of God, chasing after Jesus and His Kingdom, chasing after beauty and goodness and truth – may they be caught up into the great treasure hunt. May they be caught up into the race, into the joy of discovery, the glory of this world. This world has been remade in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and His work is finished. But this means that our work has just begun. And God is still pointing out the rivers. And He says: There’s gold down there.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.