Focal Passage: Genesis 1:1–5, 26-2:3
Often, when reading, hearing, or preaching on rest, our minds imagine some tropical holiday or, perhaps as we do in the Smoky Mountains, we think of a long, fall, mountain-cabin holiday weekend with a cozy fire, warm blankets, and a cup of delicious hot chocolate.
Yet, when God spoke about rest, it was not because He was tired or needed a break. Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary.” So, what can the Seventh Day of Creation teach us about rest?
This was the seventh unique day of Creation, the last day of the seven days of Creation. Because of the structure of the Creation story, it was equally as important as the first six days, of which we are very familiar. The main verbs were “finished,” “rested,” and “blessed,” and were each associated with the “seventh day.” God was the subject of each verb: “God finished,” “God rested,” and “God blessed.” Each verb reflected God’s completed action.
Finished. God completed what He started. The earth was “formless and void” (Genesis 1:2) when God began Creation; now Creation was fully complete. Creation was God-built and God-made. It was move-in ready for humanity “to have dominion over.”
Rested. Creation was now complete, and God rested. God was not sleeping somewhere. Psalm 121:4 says, “Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” God rested, rejoiced and was delighted in what He had made. As an artisan would admire a new piece of art that had just been made, God delighted in the marvel of Creation.
Blessed. God attached a special value to day seven. He “blessed” Creation and set it apart by calling it “holy.” The seventh day was “set apart” from the first six days. There was no “evening and morning” reference as there had been in the first six days, perhaps referencing that the seventh day continues. On the seventh day, God did not proclaim His Creation as “good” or even “very good,” but rather “holy.” Creation became a treasure and was to be treated as if we were literally standing on “holy ground.”
What can the seventh day teach us? If the seventh day of Creation declares the work of God to be set apart and holy, then our seventh day should also uniquely set apart Creation to celebrate all that God has made and acknowledge our God as Creator regularly.
As Christ believers, we should, on the Seventh day, or Sabbath, declare the glory of God’s Creation and work continuously to maintain it. Then, on the “first day of the week,” celebrate our Savior Jesus as our Redeemer because of His resurrection.
The seventh day also teaches us that If we are living in the seventh day of Creation, God is still finishing His work in us. Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God rested when we were individually made because He delights in us and has set us apart for His service and the opportunities to be His hands and feet in our world. B&R