Yesterday was Labor Day, a national holiday that allows some of the country’s work force to take a day off…for many people, it’s a day to sit back and take a breath…it’s a day to enjoy a reward for all that hard work.
Appropriately, we have come to the moment in Genesis where God also takes a moment to look over His work and to ‘rest’. (Don’t worry, I’ll come back to that whole making man and woman thing later…:) )
In the beginning of Genesis 2, we read this: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (verses 1 through 4).
Now when I first read these few verses, I thought that discussing them would be easy. It was the seventh day — the Sabbath — simple, right? We rest and go to church and that’s what it’s all about…
Except, there’s a lot more to it. I was actually amazed at how much I found when I started really looking into the Word to find more on this subject…there’s enough that it might take me a few days to cover it all. But the more I read, the more I see the importance of this seventh day and what it means to us. If God Himself chose to honor and ‘sanctify’ this day, then doesn’t that make the Sabbath…well, extraordinary?
It should. But, in my own life, I feel like there’s the routine I’ve had since childhood — Get up, go to church, have a good lunch with the family, take a nap (hopefully), maybe get together with friends, maybe go back to church, and crawl into bed with Monday morning looming directly ahead…..and I feel like there could be more to gain from this ‘day of rest’. These pieces of my Sundays are good — and those moments in church and with my family are what motivate me throughout the rest of the week — but, maybe, I have the pieces but not the whole picture of what a true Sabbath should be.
Because Sundays, our designated Sabbath days, are supposed to be days of ‘refreshment’…days we are restored and renewed. That’s the day to remember who God is to us and what He’s done for us…it’s a day to honor Him with intentional, focused time with Him. We are, of course, supposed to make time for that every day…but God gave us the gift of an entire twenty-four hours of time away from our labor and stress, so that we could truly rest in Him without ‘squeezing’ it into our schedules.
And when God gives us a direct commandment, like “the seventh (day) is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord (Exodus 31:15)”, it is always, always for our good. There’s a purpose to every facet of His plan for us…and, over the next little while, we’ll explore the Sabbath and what it means.