How to “stand in for God” at work

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you” (Exodus 7:1-2)

God could have set the Israelites free all on his own. He could have taken human form, walked straight into Pharaoh’s palace, and led the Israelites out of Egypt for good. 

But that wasn’t his strategy as today’s passage makes clear. The Lord said to Moses, “I have made you like God to Pharaoh.” In other words, while God could have done this work on his own, he chose to do it through Moses and Aaron. 

Why? Was it because God had more important things to do? No. It’s simply because this is how God has always chosen to operate. All throughout Scripture, we see that while God is perfectly capable of working on his own, more often than not, he chooses to work in this world through human beings. 

That was true with Moses thousands of years ago, and it’s true with you and me today. In the words of Tim Keller, “We are called to stand in for God here in the world…as his vice-regents.” His deputy kings and queens. This is precisely what Paul was getting at in 2 Corinthians 5:20 when he calls you and me “Christ’s ambassadors.” Think about the role ambassadors play on behalf of nations today. They themselves are not sovereign. But they stand in for and represent the sovereign and the values of their kingdom.

So it is with God and his kingdom. One of the purposes of our work is to “stand in for God” and be what James Davison Hunter calls a “faithful presence” for him in our places of work. To be “like God,” not to Pharaoh but to our bosses, co-workers, and customers.

What does this look like practically? It means exposing evil in our companies and industries (see Ephesians 5:11), “making [God’s] appeal” of salvation to the non-Christians we work with (see 2 Corinthians 5:20), and working “heartily, as unto the Lord” knowing that it is through our work that God feeds, heals, clothes, protects, and helps the world (see Colossians 3:23).

The purpose of your work is so much bigger than providing for your needs or fulfillment. You wear what Martin Luther called “the masks of God,” standing in for him in your small corner of creation. Stand in as a bold, joyful, and faithful representative of him today!


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