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.Genesis 2:2(NASB)
In the first chapter of Genesis, we are given the broad brushstrokes of creation, from God's initial command: "Let there be light," to the creation of man: "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him - male and female He created them."
The Lord blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. They were instructed to fill the earth and subdue it... to have dominion over the fish of the sea and birds of the air. They were to rule in justice and equity over every living thing that moves on the face of the earth. And the Bible sums up this creative work by stating: "God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good."
The second chapter gives greater detail of the magnificent events that took place in chapter 1. It provides depth and colour to the broad brushstrokes of creation - in particular with regard to the formation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, who were formed from the dust of the earth in the image and likeness of God. They were to be His representatives upon the earth - to care for it and to keep it.
But nestled in between these two complementary chapters on the creation of the first man and woman, we read: "The heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, was finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and rested on the seventh day from all His work - and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it."
God's creative work was completed on the sixth day and so on the seventh day, God rested from all His work and creativity. He did not rest because He was weary. God never tires, nor does He grow weary, for He is the omnipotent, all-powerful God of the universe. The Lord rested on the seventh day because He was satisfied with all the wonderful, creative work that He had done.
Although God did not initially command man to rest from his daily activities on the seventh day, nevertheless, He used it to teach the important principle of taking one day of rest and refreshment, in seven. He also uses it as a pointer to the final 'Day of Rest' - the Millennial Kingdom when Christ will rule and reign as God's appointed King, following 6000 years of earth's chaos which stemmed from man's disobedience.
Centuries later, the Sabbath rest was to be introduced as part of the Mosaic Law for the nation of Israel. However, for Christians in this Church age, Christ has already become our Sabbath rest. Indeed, the writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to 'enter into' our 'Sabbath rest' which we receive through Christ - for He is the Lord of the Sabbath. He is the coming King of the whole earth. He is our special Sabbath Rest.
When man sinned, death was brought upon the whole of God's creation. It was sin that placed the whole of God's creation under a terrible and eternal curse.
However, God in His grace began a new work, a spiritual work, a redemptive work. Following God's day of rest, He started a new work - a new work of creation which is continuing to this day. He set in motion His perfect plan of salvation which He purposed and planned before the foundation of the world. God in His omniscience KNEW that man would sin, and He planned a new creative work which would redeem the human race and bring forth a new CREATION-in-CHRIST.
God purposed that through the sacrificial blood of His only begotten Son, members of the first, fallen creation, could be born again as sons of God and become part of a new creation, a perfect creation - by faith. God planned to redeem His lost creation through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son - and for 6000 years God has been working His purpose out.
Today and forever, Jesus is our Sabbath rest because we are saved by grace through faith in Him. May we rest and abide in Him, moment by moment and day by day, until we finally arrive, spirit, soul, and body, to take up our place in the coming kingdom of God - when the earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful pictures of creation in the early chapters of Genesis, where I discover that Your plans and purposes for mankind will reach their final destination, when Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Thank You for the many lessons I can learn from Your Sabbath rest and that following Your day of rest, You began to work on Your new creation. Thank You that I am part of that new creation in Christ, that Jesus is my Sabbath rest, and that one day we will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom of perfect peace. In Jesus' name, AMEN.