Genesis Chapter 2 Verses 1 - 3
In these verses we have as it were a summary of what had taken place in Genesis chapter 1. We are told three specific things.
God finished – completed His work of creation
God rested on the Seventh Day
God bless the Seventh Day and set it apart
1. The meaning behind the word ‘finished’ is that God had brought to an end His work of creation. Since then there has been no permanent change to the laws that govern the natural world. No new species created, no evidence that there is a continual but slow evolving of one species to another. This is contrary to much thought linked to the theory of evolution.
2. God rested on the Seventh Day. What does the word ‘rest’ conjure up in our minds? It is associated with tiredness, the need to revitalise, the need for sleep. We humans need sleep to renew us day by day. But God did not rest because of tiredness. Isaiah 40:28 tells us that ‘the everlasting God, the LORD the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. Psalm 121:3-4 reminds us that our God neither slumbers nor sleeps.
By this, God is giving an example of the human race, the equivalent to a command, that there is a time to cease from our labours. In the past nations who have tried to introduce a seven day working week, have in the long term found that it is counter productive. The Divine order is work/employment – followed by rest and relaxation. The human frame is so made that there is a need for labour to cease for a period.
3. Verse three takes the thought of rest a little further. We are told that God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as very special. We find our answers in other parts of the Scripture. In Ecclesiastes 12:1 we read ‘remember now your creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say I have no pleasure in them’. If there has been little practice or desire in remembering God in our younger days, it will be far more difficult when old age and infirmity has come.
It is interesting to note that the blessings of the seventh day when incorporated into the Mosiac Law, were extended to their working animals and also to the land every seventh year. The land was to be followed in order for it to rejuvenate.
So far we have looked at the physical rest in the Bible. But Scripture refers also to a spiritual rest which can be sought after and found. To find this rest, which is so precious, we turn to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28-29: ‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’.
It is as we come by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of our sinfulness, seeking forgiveness so that the Lord will be able to forgive us and grant to us peace with God (Romans 5:1) and also the very peace of God (Philippians 4:7). The Lord Jesus in John 14:27 promised His very own peace to all who will believe. I ask you, have you found true rest and true peace?
- R. John Wheeler