Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, along with everything in them. On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.
Genesis 2:1-3 (CJB)
The word “Sabbath” isn’t found in this paragraph, but Moses is writing about the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. The phrase “seventh day” is mentioned three times in verses 2-3.
“Sabbath” comes from a Hebrew word shabbat that means “to cease working, to rest” and is related to the Hebrew word for “seven.”
Genesis 2 introduces us to a series of “firsts” that are important to us if we want to build our lives according to the basics God has put into His universe.
The Personal Sabbath of the Lord God
This first Sabbath didn’t take place because God was tired from all His creative work, because God doesn’t get weary (Isa. 40:28). God set apart the seventh day because His work of creation was finished and He was pleased and satisfied with what He had created.
“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good”
Three things are distinctive about this seventh day of the creation week.
FIRST, there’s no mention of “evening and morning,” suggesting that God’s Sabbath rest would have no end. Unfortunately, man’s sin interrupted God’s rest; and God had to search for Adam and Eve and deal with them.
The Lord didn’t rest in the sense that He was tired. His creation was so perfect that there was nothing left to do. It’s like a painter rests from his painting because another brush stroke would be too much. A lawyer rests her case because she’s done all that she can do. Likewise, God rested because everything had been created perfectly and in such a fashion that it didn’t need any maintenance.
The Lord didn’t just create grass and trees; He created them with the ability to reproduce. That means He hasn’t created grasses and trees since the original creation. He has been at rest. He created animals and people with the ability to reproduce. He hasn’t been creating animals and people since. He gave us the ability to reproduce. He is at rest.
Man was created last and then moved into God’s rest. Adam didn’t have to plant trees and wait for years to get fruit. He didn’t have to plant crops. God had already provided everything, and man just moved into God’s rest.
Likewise, in the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), we don’t have to struggle to receive from God. Instead we have to learn to rest in what has already been provided. Just as Adam wasn’t created until everything was complete and ready for him, so Jesus already provided everything we will ever need before we were saved. Now we just rest in what is already ours. We’ve already got everything.
Jehovah is the God of time as well as the Lord of eternity. It was He who created time and established the rotation of the planets and their orbits around the sun. It was He who marked out the seven-day week and set aside one day for Himself. Every living thing that God has created lives a day at a time except humans made in God’s image!
People rush around in the frantic “rat race” of life, always planning to rest but never seeming to fulfill their plan.
It has been said that most people in our world are being “crucified between two thieves”:
- The regrets of yesterday and
- The worries about tomorrow.
That’s why they can’t enjoy today. Relying on modern means of transportation and communication, we try to live two or three days at a time, only to run headlong against the creation cycle of the universe; and the results are painful and often disastrous.
In Christ we are now living in the reality of what the Sabbath portrayed. The Old Testament Sabbath was a type and shadow of resting, or trusting, in God as our provider. While the rest of the world worked seven out of seven days, God’s people took one day a week off to worship God as their source. One would think that would cause them to not be as productive as those who worked seven days a week, but the opposite was true.
God blessed His people for their trust in Him, and they prospered more than any other people on the earth. It wasn’t just because of their hard work. It was because of their faith in their God.
The O.T. Sabbath was a shadow of a relationship where God is our source. Even though we work, it is not our work that is the source of our blessing. It is our faith in God. Now that we have the New Testament reality, we don’t need the O.T. shadow. We live in a continual Sabbath. Those who cling to the observance of a specific day and don’t acknowledge the finished work of Christ as the source of all they have are Sabbath breakers.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Basic
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary