Genesis 2:1-3 The Sabbath rest is the practice of eternal life
Genesis 2:1-3 The Sabbath rest is the practice of eternal life
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Within six days, God has completed the heavens and the earth. On the seventh day, God shared His first Shabath with man, the apex of His creation. In today’s devotion, we learn that the Sabbath rest is the practice of eternal life, the true enjoyment in the Spirit that the flesh can never provide. However, the Sabbath rest is meaningful only when one puts in his best in the work that God has given.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
Within six days, God created the heavens and the earth…, and all their hosts (the stars) and rested on the seventh day. The term “work” that occured three times here in the Hebrew form is also used to depict the work of ordinary human beings (see Genesis 39:11, Exodus 20:9). The word “rested” (“Shabath” in Hebrew) means to desist or abstain from work because the work is completed. Most importantly, Shabath connotes true rest while enjoying the fruit of labour. Therefore, even as God rested on the seventh day, the seventh day is not equivalent to the Sabbath day as Shabath just means rest in Hebrew.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,
God has in so far blessed animate beings; men and animals which leads to fruitfulness and success. Here, God pronounces blessing on the day on which God abstains from work. By sanctifying the seventh day, God declares it as holy, being set apart for a sacred purpose. From henceforth, the seventh day (being the very first thing to be sanctified in the scripture) is given special status as belonging to God alone. Israel first learned to observe the Sabbath in the wilderness (see Exodus 20:8). In doing so, man is imitating God, his creator’s example and being blessed in the process.
The Sabbath rest is the practice of eternal life.
When God rested from His work, it is not due to a need to recover from fatigue. God, being omnipotent, needed no rest. The psalmist says,
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand. Psalms 124:4-5
What is this Shabath or rest of God? It is the rest of abundant living, the practice of eternal life. Rest, in a fuller sense can be experienced when one’s spirit rest in the bosom of the Almighty God; an ethereal state of bliss, of absolute safety, and empathy, purity, and blessedness. I can assume that God, on the seventh day enjoys the first Shabath with His creation and the heavenly hosts. It is here that God, being the source of eternal life liberally supplies rest to humanity and creation.
Having said, Shabath is firstly an endeavour of the heart. Many churchgoers suppose by replacing work with worship of God is receiving the rest of eternal life. They indeed have ceased from physical work, but their hearts remain ladened with worries, unbelief, and selfish desires. A state of physical inactivity, does not equate rest. Their hearts stubbornly hang on to wealth as the source of their security. Many of these churchgoers look to God as a pretext to gain more wealth so that they may spend it on bigger cars, more holidays and bigger houses. Jesus says concerning such,
This people honours Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Matthew 15:8-9
Physical sustenance may come from one’s physical labours. But abundant life comes from the Spirit alone. The Sabbath causes man to refocus his sights from ordinary bread to the bread of heaven. One that consumes ordinary bread will go hungry again, but he that eats the bread that Jesus gives will live abundantly. God’s Shabath inspires believers to continually depend on Him by being filled with the grace and fruit of the Holy Spirit.
True Sabbath rest is the reward of a work life motivated by excellence and by God’s purposes.
God works for six days and rests on the seventh, and having surveyed the fruit of His labours, He declares it as very good. How does God judge His efforts and consider His works as very good? Firstly, God’s core motivation for creating the world is to impart life and to multiply it, for He loves life itself. Secondly, God does His work with utmost meticulousness giving attention to the finest detail ensuring its tenability and even the aesthetics is astounding. Drawing from God’s example, it can be said that the Shabath is the reward of a work life motivated by excellence and by God’s purposes.
Many churchgoers cannot experience true rest in the spirit despite their near perfect attendance on Sunday worship services because their swollen ego infiltrates every aspect of their lives. Their lifeless and tired faces belies their triumphal confession and resolute appearance.
God counts His work as very good and experiences perfect rest. Therefore, if we are to be imitators of God, our creator, we must work all things to the best of our ability as serving God and not man. The apostle Paul says,
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24
Believers cannot in good conscience enjoy God’s Shabath if we remain self-serving and unmotivated in our work.
Sabbath rest is a state of faith that looks to God for His provision and providence.
Man did not assist God in creating the world, in fact, God prepared all things before his conception. Within six days, God provided all things that are needed for life and man is given to rule over creation as God’s regent. On the seventh day, when man enjoyed Shabath with God, for the first time, man beheld the great expanse of greenery and the starry sky and contemplated how much God loved him. The Sabbath is a day of adoration and fellowship with God, who has provided all things and always will be the provider of all things. It is also a day of healing, restoration and of dependence on God for things we cannot do for ourselves.
Many churchgoers continue to carry their burdens refusing to believe in God’s promises. They are unable to let go and let God take control of the wheel, being so accustomed to making their own decisions. As a result, they cannot experience true Shabath of the spirit.
Therefore, the Sabbath rest is a practice of full dependence on God’s guidance while learning to take one step at a time. After all, God knows our desires and has already provided everything that is needed for our success. Our future is in His hand and He will make all things beautiful in His time.
Are you accustomed to placing your security on money? Do you supposed that if you have a good job, and a good family, you will be happy and fulfilled? True happiness and fulfilment are not attributed to one’s emotional state or circumstances. It is attributed to the state of one’s spirit who is at peace with the One who supplies the eternal stream of life and bliss. Therefore, you can experience the Sabbath rest today when you turn your focus from ordinary bread to the bread that comes of heaven.
Dear Lord, I believe that in whatever circumstances I am, I can enjoy eternal peace, love and joy through the Spirit. As I endeavour to do all things as unto God and not man, I will experience true peace and rest knowing that you alone will supply all my needs. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.