Read Genesis 2:1-25.
God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because He rested on that day. Even God works, but also knows the importance of rest. God does not need to rest, He does not sleep (Psalm 121:4). And yet, He rested anyways.
Before the flood the earth was watered by a mist which went up from the land. It was not until the flood that rain fell on the earth as it does today. Some scholars believe this “firmament” kept out harmful UV rays and is part of why people lived so long, and why fruit and vegetables may have been more nutritious.
It is noted that at this time “there was no man to work the ground” (verse 5). This statement precedes the statement of man’s creation (verse 7) and the garden, which God “took… and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (verse 15). This means that man’s creation is very close to the work which God has for us on this earth, to work it and keep it (in contrast to the earlier statement to rule it in ch. 1).
This means that work is not a bad thing. Although the later curse will make work harder, work itself is part of God’s blessing and purpose to mankind.
Some see an implied covenant in verse 16, where God gave man permission to eat of every tree in the garden, but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The consequence of doing so being death. When Adam and Eve later eat this fruit, they break the covenant and the consequence of death enters in. This theme will continue from this verse until the first coming of Christ to redeem mankind and “buy back” the covenant right of life which they had lost in the fall.
In verses 18-25 God says it’s “not good that man… be alone.” This is contrast to the pattern of ch. 1’s use of “good.” Mankind’s purpose was to work the land that God had created, keep it, subdue it, and rule over it. He would need help. And most importantly, it was not good to be alone.
God is a God of relationships, and so He created Eve to help Adam in his purpose. Since God did not create Eve out of the dust of the earth as God had done with Adam and the animals this made Eve more closely connected to Adam. She was literally part of him from the beginning.
This is why in marriage a man’s responsibility is first to his wife, even above that of his family obligations. The two in marriage are made one once again; as Adam and Eve had been one, separated, and made one again as God brought her to him. There was no shame in their nakedness because God had made them for each other. So it is in marriage. This is because the two are essentially one.
Work is good. It is a blessing. You can find joy in working and keeping the responsibilities God has given you. Yes, it will be hard because of the curse, but you will be more fulfilled and happy in working than not.
But don’t try to do it all on your own. That isn’t God’s design for you. And He knows it’s not good for you to be alone. He wants to give you someone special, if he hasn’t already, to help you in what He has called you both to do. If you have someone already, recognize the gift that they are and put them first (even above your family) as you work together in the joy of the Lord.
But also, don’t forget to rest. Work is a blessing, a gift, and even a calling. But even God, who has no need of rest, rested.