Summary: God rested when His work was done and we need one day to worship and rest!
THE DAY OF REST Genesis 2:1-3
All of us are trapped in days that last for exactly twenty-four hours. One cannot cry out, “I shall live in terms of a 40 hour day to give me more time to make money.” That is chronologically impossible. The prisoner cannot make the decision to cut his days down to 16 hours in length to get his sentence over. Twenty-four hours is the period of time for the earth to rotate on its axis, and all mankind has to fit its life into such a length of day. We are all structured to work and to rest within every single day. There are other daily rhythms that are essential for the natural functions of the bodies which God has created out of the dust of this world.
Without Gen 1 how would anyone explain a week? One dictionary says it is a period of time longer than a day and shorter than a month! We can relate a day to the earth rotating on its axis, and we can relate a year to the period of time in which the earth completes a single revolution around the sun, consisting of 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 12 seconds of mean solar time. The week of seven days has to be connected to how God made everything. He worked in terms of six days and then he took a day of rest. There have been attempts to lengthen the week. Human bodies function in a sabbatical structure; they needed rest every seven days.
1. When GOD was done with His six days He made a day of rest to worship.
Gen 1 has told us that God did not only create the universe but that he created time too. He spread it out over six whole days in order to tie us to our Creator with the loving bonds of the Sabbath. What did God do on the seventh day of creation week? Our text uses several words to describe the rest and the activity of God. 1st, he did no more work; 2nd, he rested; 3rd; he blessed the day; 4th, he made it holy. All the divine work ended after six days. Of course God continued to uphold everything he had made. The movement of the atoms and the stars had their being in him, but there was no new creative activity. God rested from all of that for a day. God resting? That is a peculiar idea isn’t it? Certainly Omnipotence doesn’t grow weary. On this seventh day he was engaged in a different form of existence. The Father could take delight in the Son and the Son delighted in the Father, and both in the Spirit and he in them. Eternity had always been an existence of blissful joy. It was not from loneliness or frustration that God created the world and it was not from tiredness that God rested. Then we are also told that God blessed this day of rest. How do you bless a day? Sometimes we limit blessedness to a feeling of happiness. Well, then we have to ask the question once again, how do you make a day happy? I think it is better to think in terms of asking what the opposite of ‘blessed’ is and that is ‘cursed’. To be cursed by God is to be out of his favor, outside his friendship, subject to his judgment, whereas to be blessed is to be in a special relationship with him, to be the subject of his love and grace. So God made this day a blessed day, one that was uniquely related to himself. He made it a good day; Sundays are great days. Our Sabbath day has been blessed by God. It is creates happiness. “What a day to be living in!” From the biography of the missionary James Paton, “There were eleven of us brought up in a home and never one of the eleven, boy or girl, man or woman, has ever been heard or ever will be heard saying that Sunday was dull or wearisome for us, or suggesting that we have heard or seen any way more likely than that for making the Day of the Lord bright and blessed alike for parents and for children. But God help the homes where these things are done by force and not by love!” So God blessed the day. Sundays have been days to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ, for the children to put on something attractive; to hear the most fascinating truths one will ever hear; to sing the praises of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; to gather with our friends; to put our lives back on track again; to be given new motivation and determination to live lovingly with kindness and patience.