Monday, January 10, 2011

Genesis 2:1-3

Good morning, all!

This week we'll be looking at the creation of Adam and Eve, but the first two verses of chapter 2 actually refer back to chapter 1. After "the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array," God took the seventh day off! 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."

Why did God rest? Was He exhausted? Our Bible tells us that He does not grow weary, nor does He sleep. He did not NEED a day off. So what was His purpose here? I think God was doing two things: I think He was just enjoying the beauty of what He had made, and I think He was purposefully setting an example for us. God knew we would need to take a day off from our labor and just rest. Most of us are old enough to remember a time when stores were not open on Sundays and most everyone in town went to church. There were no youth sports leagues competing on Sunday. Sunday was a day with the family. It was a time to be still and know that God is God. Unfortunately, all of that has changed!

Rest from labor is vital to our spiritual life. If we don't take time away from the daily grind to be still and just enjoy our relationships with others and with God, we burn out. We become resentful, not only of the job itself, but sometimes of those for whom we work - our families. We will never catch up at work, we will never run out of things to do (either at work or at home), so we just have to consciously set aside (make holy) one out of seven days to restore and recharge. In particular, we need time set aside for enjoying all that God has made and for nurturing our relationship with Him.

The problem comes when we get legalistic about how to do this. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27) Don't make going to church a ritual. Don't prescribe rules for yourself or others about how it MUST be observed in order to be holy. Don't judge others in their method or particular day of "keeping" the Sabbath. Just remember to take that day of rest yourself. God modeled it for us, because He knew we would work ourselves to death, or at least out of fellowship, if we didn't set it aside.

Enjoy the Sabbath as one of God's first gifts to us!

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