The Gift of Work Pt. 2 – Work Reflects God’s Character

Tom Pennington |

November 4, 2021


As we begin to examine the book of Proverbs as it relates to work, I want us to first take note of the fact that Wisdom teaches that work is a gift that reflects God’s character. In other words, the way we work reflects who God is. Proverbs 8 highlights this reality. In this remarkable chapter, Solomon personifies wisdom. In verses 1–3, he describes wisdom as a woman, a woman that calls out to people everywhere to listen to her. Beginning in verse 4 and running through the end of the chapter, her speech can be broken down into several sections. In this blog, I want us to consider the section that covers verses 22–31. 

In this particular section, Wisdom explains that her origin is actually in the character of God Himself. She argues for this position by describing her role in creation. In fact, in verses 22–26, the Solomon reveals that God possessed wisdom before the creation. Notice what he writes (Wisdom is speaking) beginning in verse 22: “The Lord created [possessed] me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. From eternity [everlasting] I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no ocean depths, I was born [brought forth], when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was born [brought forth]; while He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world.” I would summarize those verses this way: wisdom predates creation. 

God possessed wisdom before He made anything, and God used that wisdom when He created everything. Verse 27 goes on to say, “When He established the heavens, I was there.” Wisdom is saying that she was present at the establishment of the heavens! That is the message of verses 27–29. Now, don’t miss the big picture and Solomon’s primary point in Proverbs 8: there is great value in wisdom. Why? Because God is wisdom and God made the world in wisdom! So, in order for believers to thrive in God’s world, we must have wisdom because no one knows the created world better than Wisdom. 

Next, Solomon asserts that God exercised wisdom to create the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. Verse 22 says, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old” (emphasis mine). Look at the subsequent verbs that describe God’s work: He made the earth (v. 26); He established the heavens and inscribed a circle (v. 27); He made the firm skies and fixed the springs (v. 28); He set the boundaries and marked out the foundations (v. 29). Then, Wisdom adds, “Then I was beside Him [God], as a master workman [craftsman]; and I was His delight daily, rejoicing always before Him” (v. 30). Wisdom worked alongside God in the creation of the world. What a profound reality!

Don’t miss the critical point that Proverbs 8 is making: work is not the result of the Fall in Genesis 3. Put another way, work is not a consequence of the Fall. Instead, work is a fundamental part of the character of God Himself.

God worked in creation and He continues to work today! Even our Lord affirmed this doctrine when He said, “My Father is working until now” (John 5:17). The Scripture is clear, God continues to work at this very moment! But, what work is God accomplishing? Next time we’ll consider two particular ways in which our God works today.