July 16th, 2021 – Written Later Friday Afternoon
“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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” ~Genesis 2:2-3
You have probably heard it said that the number 7 represents completion or a complete something (this is a deduction from how it is used, not an absolute or specifically stated rule). The above passage is perhaps the first reason why the idea of completion is attached to the number; God completed His good work of creation by the seventh day of time and then used that day to rest. The work of creation, from the sun, moon, stars, seas, land, trees, birds, insects, animals, mankind, and everything else, was carefully and deliberately performed in a six-day period by the LORD, who then completed the cyclical time period of a week with a special day of rest.
It is clear from elsewhere in Scripture (such as Psalm 121:3 & Isaiah 40:28) that God does not tire and He does not need rest. Why then did He sanctify (set apart as special) the seventh day for rest? I can think of a few reasons: 1. He was establishing some order and limits to time. Most of the world today operates on the Gregorian Calendar, but calendars have come and gone; the week was created by God. 2. The LORD instituted a day of rest for the benefit of creation; this is evidenced by the year of rest and the year of Jubilee prescribed for the land of Israel in the Law (for instance, see Leviticus 25:4-5) and in Jesus’ words that the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around (Mark 2:27). It is also evidenced by science and the human body. 3. Finally, it is right that a day of rest, a pause, should occur after the LORD completed His work of creation; if all of creation speaks His praise (Psalm 19 and elsewhere), is it not appropriate that He set aside the seventh day of time as separate from the first six days [His work]?
Think about this: Every week the “civilized” world reaffirms the good design of God; even when those in history have attempted to change the 7-day week in defiance of Him (like France in the late 1700s), their attempts have failed. Since seven days is what we get, what if we looked at each week as a new period of praise instead of another trudge through the trough of trials? What if we intentionally set aside a day of rest and experienced the refreshment that He designed us to get in that week’s long time period? I know that I am often not a model of either of these suggestions, but that is not how it ought to be.
Let us look back so that we can move forward; look at the LORD and His perfect ways… He took an unnecessary (for Him) day of rest because it was necessary for us; He, the timeless One, designed and ordered time for our benefit and the benefit of all of His creation; and, He rightfully deserves all praise and glory. May we be enraptured with Him and His glory, constantly filled with His praise, and engaged with His purpose.