I don’t know about you, but I have always loved the story of creation as recorded in the book of Genesis. Even from the time I was a child, I have been fascinated with this miraculous account of God speaking all that I can see into existence. I can vividly remember the flannel graphs used in Sunday school, and I can picture even now in my mind the images used nearly thirty years ago to depict this story.
For the first five days of creation, God used words alone to form and create the world. That is just baffling to me! There is such a display of God’s power recorded within the first few chapters of Genesis. He opened His mouth and said, “Let there be…”, and then there was. He didn’t even need to use His hands to create. His word was all that was necessary. His Word is still all that we need.
Then we get to day six in the creation story, the day which God decided to create mankind. You can read about this in Genesis 1:26-31 and again in Genesis 2:4-25. What has always stood out to me the most in this part of the story is that on day six, God decided to use His hands. Notice how every day of creation, God spoke things into existence. Only on man did He use His hands. That, my friends, is an intentional, loving God, a God who is not distant, but a God who gets involved in the details of our lives. He knelt down, got His hands in the dirt, and breathed life into us.
Here’s where I want us to fix our gaze today, though. On day seven, God chose to rest. Breathe that in for just a moment. It’s beautiful. Read these few verses below:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 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. 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.” (Genesis 2:1-3)
Before we take one step further, it is critical to note that God didn’t rest because He was tired. God is God, and He is not confined by the limitations of man. God does not grow tired or weary as we do. God does not need to take a nap. God doesn’t take breaks from ruling and reigning over all of creation. He is God.
Still, I know that God is intentional in all that He does, so I believe that His choice to rest was also very intentional. I imagine you could come up with your own reasons as to why God chose to rest on the seventh day, but allow me to submit two reason of my own.
Why did God choose to rest?
#1—God rested in order to model for us what we should also do.
God wasn’t tired, but He knew we would be. He knew the importance of ceasing work for just a day to revive and restore our weary souls. He knew the necessity of moving away from the demands and pressures that work brings for just one day in order that we might regain our focus on Him. He desired this for us, so He modeled it for us. The beauty of the God we love and serve is that in all matters of obedience, He showed us how to do it.
#2—God rested to reflect on all that He had just created.
He had just spent six days hard at work creating the universe. So, He took a day to reflect on all He had made. Again, God is modeling for us the importance of rest. There seems to be this never-ending drive within humanity to keep going, to work harder, to never stop. However, a day of pause and reflection can serve us so well. When we stop to reflect on the work we’ve accomplished, there is not only pleasure and joy to be found, but there is also perspective. When we pause and rest for long enough to reflect, we give ourselves the ability to regain perspective. “Was all the hard work worth it? At what cost was I able to accomplish it all? Would I do anything differently?” When we rush from one day to the next, eliminating rest in the grind to accomplish more, we remove these benefits from our lives.
If there were no other reason given to us to rest than the fact that God chose to do it Himself, that would be enough. It is wisdom to imitate God. That is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ. In all things, imitate God as beloved children. So, are we?