Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Here we see that God has finished His creative work and rests on the seventh day. He doesn’t need to rest. He’s God. He’s omnipotent. Rather He rests as someone who has just finished a great work and desires to step back and enjoy it.
Notice also that God has blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The Sabbath day is a gift to you and to me. And yet it’s been my observation that the practice of observing the Sabbath among Christians is becoming increasingly rare. This is contrary to God’s word. The Sabbath is a holy day, it’s a day in which we’re to commune with God, it’s a day in which we’re to visit His house, and it’s a day in which we’re to rest.
Do you ever feel as though you can’t string together five minutes without being interrupted by a phone call, a text, a tweet, or an email? The variety of forms of communication today is staggering. Telephones calls, cell phone calls, television, the web, texting, tweeting, emailing — all of these make it more difficult than ever to rest. In large part, because of these technologies, people are now exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements a day — according to a recent article by CBS news. That’s 5,000 attempts to convince you that you need to spend your money, 5,000 instances of potential influence toward working more to earn more to buy more. It’s more difficult than ever to slow down and rest.
God blessed the Sabbath day, rest is a blessing, and God intends for us to rest. Do you realize that the stress in your life is, to a great degree, a function of an absence of rest? Think about it: imagine the recreational activity that you enjoy performing more than any other activity in life, now imagine with me that you’re about to engage in that activity, now imagine that you’re completely bone tired, yet you’re still obligated to perform that activity. It’s not enjoyable anymore! Even that which is most enjoyable to us when we’re rested, is not when we’re worn out. And, by the way, the greater the energy required to perform an activity, the greater the rest required to ready yourself to perform it.
When we find ourselves outside of God’s design for us to rest one out of seven days, we cause ourselves unneccessary hardship.
Oh, and for those of us who have the opposite problem, notice that God designated six days in which we are to work!
Finally, as important as the Sabbath is, we must recognize that the Sabbath is only a shadow of Jesus. The Sabbath day, the day of rest that God took after finishing His creative work, the day that He blessed and made holy, is a shadow of Jesus. Of course a shadow is only formed from something of substance and Jesus is that substance from which the shadow of the Sabbath is formed. We’re no longer under the law. We no longer have to labor to earn righteousness before God, but rather, we can rest in Jesus because He, Jesus, is our righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30) On the Sabbath day we’re to rest, but on every day, we as believers, are to rest in Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30