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Monday, April 4, 2022

Creation: Day 7 - Rest

The world we live in is breathtaking and complex. The artistic genius of it points to Something/Someone higher, greater, more wonderful than we can even imagine. How did it all come to be? Was it merely an accident or does nature’s harmony point to a Higher Power? The creation story in Genesis is full of deep spiritual truths that help us understand the character of God and our purpose for being. Today, we learn how important it is to take time to rest and reflect and worship the great Creator.

Genesis 2:1-3

1 So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

On the Seventh Day, God Rested.

We live in a hectic world that values productivity.  Rise early, work hard all day.  Get off work and go to one or two or even three extra activities before you go to bed too late at night.  Studies show that 60% of Americans don’t get enough sleep.  Lack of sleep increases the risk of being overweight, heart disease, and breast cancer in women. It also leads to more car accidents and medical errors.  Yet we have too much living to do to get more sleep.

It is not just a lack of sleep that plagues us.  There is also a lack of resting—a time when we just refrain from working.  Studies show that 1/3 of Americans don’t take vacation time even when their jobs offer it.  Often this is because they feel pressure not to—either pressure from their bosses or pressure they put on themselves.  When people do take a vacation, they rarely use the time to “rest.”  Instead, they opt to fill the time with numerous activities.  How many of you have gotten home from a vacation and thought, “I need a vacation from my vacation!”?

In our busy world, the idea that God rested and that He made “resting” a Holy commandment may seem alien.  Yet rest is essential to healthy living. 

God did not design us to be machines that work nonstop.  God wants us to take time to “Be still and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10).  When we pause from our labors and other distractions, we have time to remember who we are and who God is and to just enjoy life.  When we do not rest, we are less human than God wants us to be.

The very first thing God calls “holy” in the Bible is the Sabbath rest.  A weekly day of rest was so essential that it became one of the most important religious laws in the Bible.  It was a day that God ordered teachers and priests and prophets to defend again and again.  We also see that when God’s people did not keep the Sabbath, they suffered or were punished.

Mark 2:27

In Mark 2:27, Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”  This is a reminder not to let religious devotion to the Sabbath outweigh common sense or common decency.  However, Jesus’ words also remind us that the Sabbath is an incredible gift God has given us—something we need.  Jesus observed the weekly Sabbath all his life.  The Bible tells us it was his custom to worship God in the synagogue each week.

God created the Sabbath for rest and worship.

Work is important.  But working too much can be a way for us to cover up and hide from things.  People—known as workaholics—use work as an escape the same way alcoholics or drug addicts use substances to escape from reality.  When we rest, we sometimes must confront things we might rather have left uncovered—things that need to be confronted.  So we must rest and worship.

Worship is the adoration of God.  It is when we pause to recognize the wonder of God and His goodness and express our gratitude to Him.  Proper worship humbles us, reminding us of our proper place in Creation.  It also opens us up to the voice of God who reveals where we need to change or grow.  At the same time, worship lifts us up as we recognize we are unconditionally loved by an incredible God.  

We were designed to worship God.  It is such an integral part of our DNA, that we cannot avoid it.  Every society that has existed since the world began has had some notion of God and has sought to worship Him.  This fact testifies to both the reality of God’s existence and the innate desire within humanity to worship God.  How else would so many different kinds of people from so many different backgrounds who never spoke to each other to share ideas, all reach such similar conclusions?

Some people—especially in our modern times when we place more value in science than religious traditions—have chosen not to worship God.  Yet we see that even these people worship some kind of “god.”  Perhaps they worship people they admire or things they can acquire.  They may worship an ideology or even themselves, but they cannot avoid worshiping something.  Because of the way God made us, we must worship just like we must breathe.  The question is not “Will you worship?”  The question is “Who or what will you worship?”

Jesus came to help us worship the One True God.

He shows us what God is really like.  Before Christ, humanity was limited in their understanding of God.   We only knew about God from the religious scriptures or from the stories others told.  God recognized that because of our sin, we were no longer able to recognize His voice and worship Him in His fullness.  So God decided to come to earth to live among us.  God was born as the baby Jesus.  He grew up under the supervision of a mother and father.  He learned how to live, suffered the same temptations and disappointments we face, and was obedient to the very laws He created.  Ultimately, Jesus died on the cross to atone for the sins that keep us from worshiping God.  

And so now, through Jesus Christ, we can turn away from our sins of error and sins of willful disobedience and come to worship God.  Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heaven burdens, and I will give you rest.


Are you weary from carrying heavy burdens?  Are you working yourself to death trying to do too much?  Are you weighed down with the burdens of grief, guilt, worry, stress, loneliness, disappointments, shame, or anxiety?  The grace of God through Jesus Christ calls to you: “Come, and I will give you rest.”  Jesus wants to forgive you, to wash away all your sin sickness, and give you a brand new life.  Jesus wants you to use your time reasonably.  He wants you to work, but Jesus also wants you to take time to rest and worship and enjoy the amazing life God created in you and all around you.  So what’s stopping you?

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