Blake Allen, Campus Pastor, Living Hope Dunbar Cave
Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3
31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Busy and tired. I think these two words describe how most people feel on a weekly basis. By the end of the week, we are done. Really, by the end of a busy day, we are done. “We are tired. We are exhausted. We want a vacation. We want a vacation from our vacation.” I think I have heard these words more than any others recently. We all need rest and a time to process all that is going on in our lives. We need to download and process. We need a respite.
A respite is a break or relief from something taxing. What has been taxing in your life? Maybe it is family. Maybe it is work. Maybe it is school. Or, maybe it is something else. Whatever it is, you need a respite. And I don’t think it is any surprise that God told us to keep the Sabbath day holy. I think God knew what he was doing. But heres the deal: the Sabbath is more than just a break from work. It is not just a day for physical restoration. More importantly, it is a day of spiritual restoration and a day of reflection.
The verses above tell us where the Sabbath came from. God, himself, rested after six days of creation. On the seventh day, God rested from His work. But what does it mean that God rested? Did God take a holy nap? Does God need to rest? If God is all-powerful, does he run out of strength or energy? The answer is no. Psalm 29 reveals that God possess all strength and even gives strength to us. He is the source of strength, and He is sovereign above all things. But then, this begs the question: What does it mean that God rested?
The key to Genesis 2:1-3 is the verse right before–Genesis 1:31. Just before chapter 2, God describes what resting looked like for Him. Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw what He made, and behold, it was good.” In other words, God reflected on everything He created. He spent time in reflection on His creation, His glory, His good works, His acts, His provision, etc. When God finished His work (v. 2:2), He stopped/ rested from His work (v. 2:2b), He reflected on the goodness of His work (v. 1:31), and He blessed that day and made it holy (2:3). God not only rested from His work but He reflected upon what He made. He then blesses the 7th day and ordains it to be observe by His people. It is a holy day of reflection; because God rested and reflected, all humanity is to follow suit.
So what does that entail for us? We need a day of rest and reflection upon the goodness of God. With all that is thrown your way during the week, you are probably mentally drained as well as physically drained. We see the tasks. We see the schedules. We see the appointments. We see the problems. We see what needs to be done. We see what needs to be fixed.
But do you see the goodness of God all around? Do you see the blessings our heavenly Father provides? Do you take time to reflect on the wonderful things God has done? Do you take time to be in awe of His majesty, glory, and strength? Are you awestruck by the presence of God in your life? Do you reflect on the fact Christ shed His blood just because He loves you?
We need to stop resting in our business and rest in His presence. What if we took the Sabbath seriously? I am not talking about legalistic and Pharisaic practices of the Sabbath. For Jesus did good and healed on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4). The Pharisees considered this “work” and thought Jesus was breaking the law according to their Pharisaical interpretation of the law and their man-made rules. Jesus reveals they did not understand the law and were hypocritical regarding their application of it (Luke 13:15). I am talking about resting from daily routine and redirecting our focus upon God. If we took this seriously, we would truly find rest. Matthew 11:28-20 says, “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We need a break from tasks for physical restoration. But we also need a break from thinking about the tasks. The Sabbath should be a day where we redirect our focus upon God. We should reflect on how we saw God at work last week. We should reflect upon His goodness. We need to go to Him with our weariness. When we do, He promises to give us rest.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, help us to rest in you. We are thankful that Christ came to give us rest from our efforts. Thank you for the reminder that no matter how much we “work”, we could not obtain salvation. Salvation is from you and you alone. Thank you, Jesus, for working on the cross so that we could have rest from this broken world and find our peace in you. Amen.