We’ve all heard it before: God creates the Earth and all of its inhabitants in six days and then rests on the seventh.
“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.” Gen. 2:2-3
Now, to the average non-believer this proves to be insignificant. But, as a true believer, this holds great significance. And as true believers, our hearts desire should be to live a life in reverence to God. And that means resting just as God did. In fact, resting is such an important matter to God that He instituted the “Sabbath” or a day of observance if you will. He commanded Moses and the Israelites to obey it as part of the Old Testament Law.
“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death…It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:15,17
See how important it is to God for us to rest? Not only did He command it from the Israelites, but they also were to be put to death if they did not follow it! Harsh. What a great reminder for us to fear the Lord. Not the kind of fear where you are afraid of Him, but a healthy kind of Biblical fear.
“To fear God means to reverence Him as sovereign, trust Him implicitly, and obey Him without question.” (Walvoord, 65)
There’s that word reverence again. The act of our obedience to rest should stem from our reverence of God. We should be so mesmerized and in awe of Him that not only should we want to obey Him and rest, but in that time of resting our sole focus should be wholeheartedly on Him.
Taking this further, The Lord tested the Israelites in their obedience to rest when He rained down manna while they were in the wilderness. They were to collect only what they needed for that day, daily with exception of the sixth day where they were to collect double in order to rest on the seventh.
“Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’” Exodus 16:21-23
And while God was trying to teach them about rest and His provision some still refused to take it to heart:
“Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” So the people rested on the seventh day.” Exodus 16:27-30
There was no need for those Israelites to rise up early and look for food. God had already provided for their basic needs and a free day to relax! They did so in vain and essentially mocked God in their disobedience and lack of faith. Fools! They just should have listened the first time.
Do you see how this is coming together? God wants to be respected, revered, feared, and loved. That’s all that He is asking when He tells us to rest. To set aside some time and appreciate who He is and what He has done.
Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, eds. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. N.p.: Victor books, 1985. 65. Print.