The first day my wife and I moved into our new home there were open boxes littering the rooms; everything was without order. Our house functioned properly (plumbing, electricity, roof) but our house was not yet a home. Each day we would unpack boxes and assign each room a particular function. When our unpacking was done, we rested.
This is exactly what God did on the seventh day of creation.
God took the first six days to prepare a place of residence and on the seventh day he “settled in.” He set up residence in creation with humanity so that He could dwell with them, and they with Him.
The seven-day creation narrative isn’t so much a house story of material origins as much as it is a home story where God creates a sacred space for His dwelling place with humanity.
And this is the purpose of the seven days of creation – that God has ordered the cosmos to place His presence in it and rule over it with humanity. Day seven is the reason for days one through six. If God doesn’t rest with His creation, then the first six days are without purpose. We should think of the earth as not just a house (a mere material structure) but a home for God and His people.
This is the picture of the Garden in the east, in Eden.
So this pattern of living was set by God for us to live and move within, but this good design that God created to have fellowship with us has been rejected because of our authoritative claim on our lives and our rebellion against God’s pattern of living. In other words, God set us a pattern to have a day of rest so that we could enjoy Him, each other, and His creation. Yet instead of yielding to this design, we exercise control over our lives by constantly working to accomplish what we think we need done. Therefore we find ourselves exhausted and restless.
As humans, we are burdened with hard work and struggling relationships; therefore, we are longing to find deep, meaningful rest with each other and with God. By setting aside a day to rest from work, we are participating in God’s good design for our lives, but there is still a heart-level restlessness that we feel between us and God, and with others.
This is where the promises of Jesus find us well.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28
Jesus promises that those who turn back to God’s ways will find rest for their innermost being, in their souls. So when we observe the Sabbath, we are living in this reality by resting in God’s presence. We are taking a break from the constant demands and rhythms of our toil and labor and setting a time of submission to God’s design and presence in order to live as God wants us to live – in rest, with Him.
This is the life-giving rest that God wants us to experience.
God has ordered the cosmos with the purpose of taking up residence in it and ruling over it. Day seven is the reason for days one through six. It is the fulfillment of God’s purpose for his creation. God’s intent for Sabbath rest is a wholesome unity . . .
between us and God
with each other
with the creation that we are ruling over
Sabbath is just the way things should be, and we were meant to live in this reality. So when we intentionally stop our daily rhythms and submit to God’s purpose for our rest, we’re doing the following:
*We are inviting God to become welcome in our homes and hearts and allow his authority to guide and shape our lives.
*As a community of people who follow Jesus, we are inviting him to give us rest from our weary toil and struggling relationships.
*We are inviting the life-giving God to heal us from our wounds that the world has inflicted upon us.
*We are inviting God’s promises to give a hope that we can find deep, meaningful rest in this life . . . and forever with Jesus in the life to come.
Copyright © 2020 by Jason Pierce @ https://jasonpierce.org Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org