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May 4, 2012

Why God rested on the seventh day

by Dave Malnes

Six days.  That’s all it took.  Crafted from hands that knew no measure or time, earth was birthed from the heavens and life began.  The Creation account cannot be fathomed by mortal minds, but only grasped in awe and through breath-taking glimpses of mountain landscapes, flowery meadows and the intricacies of the human brain.  Earth as we know it is truly a living masterpiece of artistic and scientific wonder.

There is one aspect of God’s creation that causes me the most wonder these days.  It has to do with the fact on what happened on the seventh day of creation.  A day God rested.

God who shaped mountains, caused oceans to expand, and created life, is the same God who desired rest.  Was he weary from his work?  Did fatigue set in?  Or, did God want to set an example for all people that rest is not only important, but a solemn action of praise and worship.  I am being led to believe that there may be a different reason for God resting on the seventh day — and it has little to do with physical rest.

God created man in his own image and it was good.  To complete his creation, God gave the gift of a physical world.  After the sixth day, there was nothing more to do.  Everything was complete.  Man did not have to do anything to help finish what God had already done.  All man had to do was simply accept God’s gift and be who God designed him to be.  True rest only comes as a by-product of completion.  Because with rest, there is a sense contentment and accomplishment that grants you peace.  And so it was with God’s creation.

But could there be something more?

Was earth and its physical reality created to be a permanent fixture?  Or, was the original intent and design to be a temporary dwelling with something far greater in mind that would surpass the original creation, plus ultimately defeat evil that encompassed the earthly realm?  Was this simply a plan to give mortal man ultimate rest?

There are clues throughout the Old Testament of God’s ultimate design for mankind to complete him in his own image.  God provided a picture of what was to come and gave promises for his people to trust in that it will be done.  There was the promised land set apart for his people.  There was the lamb without blemish to be sacrificed at the altar.  These were present blessings that was pointing to a far greater reality that was yet to come.

God used the temporal of this world to point to something far greater — a spiritual world to be absorbed completely by true rest and peace by being in the eternal and conscious presence of God — the Father, the Alpha and Omega, the Creator , the great I AM.

Could it ultimately be that God used the picture of the Sabbath, the seventh day rest of Creation, to point to that Sabbath rest between Good Friday and Easter?

When Jesus died on the cross, the Lamb without blemish was sacrificed for the sins of this world.  Evil was vanquished.  The work of salvation was finished.  Man did not have to do anything else to add on to what was already completed.  Faith accepts this act completed on our behalf.  Like any perfect gift, we receive it gladly and utilize it for our benefit and joy.  We rest in the knowledge that everything has been done.  And in the meantime, we wait.  The temporal will become eternal.  The beginning will come to an end.   A new heaven and a new earth will be the next reality.

Perhaps this is the Sabbath rest that God painted for us from the beginning when he rested on the seventh day.  God wants us to know that spiritual rest is what’s most important.  God never rests, because He is Spirit.  Our rest today comes from the status faith receives by trusting in God’s completed work in Christ Jesus.  When that status, that inheritance, that promised citizenship becomes a reality — that will be an eternal rest that is as breathtaking as that mountain landscape we see in the distance, that sweet aroma of a mountain meadow, those minute intricacies of the human brain.  It is a rest we simply cannot fathom right now, but trust the portrait God has provided for us.

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