“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” (v. 3, Genesis 2:1-3).
The amount of space devoted to the creation of mankind, as well as the dominion granted to us by God Almighty, demonstrates that humanity is the crowning jewel of the Lord’s creation. Being made in His image (Gen. 1:27), we have a worth that far surpasses anything else God has made, and we have an authority to manifest His sovereign reign shared by nothing else He has created (v. 28).
Today’s passage tells us that, having completed His creation of the universe, God rested on the seventh day of the creation week and set it apart as holy (2:1–3). At first glance, this seems a bit strange to us because, after all, the Lord omnipotent does not grow tired and should not need to relax after working long hours (Isa. 40:28). Genesis 2:3 gives us insight into the nature of the Lord’s rest. This verse does not say God ceased all activity on the seventh day; instead, He only “rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” On His Sabbath, God no longer performs the labor of the preceding six days in which He created all things by His word. However, He continues to uphold all things, and, upon Adam’s fall, He began His sovereign work of redemption (3:14–15, 21). Moreover, as there is no morning and evening on the seventh day, God’s rest is eternal and He therefore sustains us even today (1 Cor. 1:4–9).
Later on in Scripture we see that God’s rest on the seventh day is the pattern for our own Sabbath (Ex. 20:8–11). Just like the Lord, we are to cease one day a week from our creative labor. Reformed evangelicals legitimately debate about whether this may include recreation such as playing games and other more “active” forms of rest. However, all generally agree we are to set one day in seven apart as holy and engage in public worship and rest from the ordinary.
Because of Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week, the Sabbath is now celebrated on the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:9–11). Though we must glorify God in all that we do (1 Cor. 10:31), on Sunday we should be especially concerned to celebrate our accomplished redemption and look forward to its completed application in the eternal Sabbath awaiting the people of God (Heb. 4:9–10).
How do you spend your time on Sundays? Are you attending a church where you can worship and fellowship with other believers? Do you spend a restful day with your family and friends, or do you labor in ways that are best kept for other days of the week? When was the last time you visited someone in need? Take some time today and plan to visit someone this Sunday after you worship with your local congregation.
Passages for Further Study
Deut. 5:12–15; Isa. 58:13–14; Jer. 17:19–27; Matt. 12