By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
In Genesis 1 we see how God created the world, including man; and it took him 6 days. He rested on the seventh day, since he had finished the creating he had intended, and he set aside the seventh day as a holy day. In this study we will examine the importance of the seventh day, and the first set of seven days is crucial as a standard for the millions and millions of seven days that came after that.
God created the world in 6 days, technically speaking. Have you ever wondered about this? Have you ever wondered why God needed 6 days to create the world? He is God. He set the laws of science and of nature. He is the one who knows the way to the abode of light and where darkness resides; he oversees the storehouses of the snow and the storehouses of hail, the place where lightning is dispersed and where east winds are scattered over the earth [Job 38]. If he wanted to, could he not have created everything in a day? I’m not God, and I don’t know the complexities that are involved in creating the world – but I would think he could. Or, maybe not a day, since things like the creation of light may have needed a day to separate evening from morning. So maybe 2 days. Or three days. Or four. Or five. Why six in particular? Why separate out his work in 6 days when he probably could have finished it in a day or two?
The focus most of the time, of course, is on the seven days. Adding in the day of rest to the 6 days of creation, we have the first seven days. Have you questioned this before? Like why God needed 6 days to create the world, the seventh day is even more questionable. God needs to rest? Seriously? The omnipotent and omniscient God needs to rest? I would like to think that ever since that 7th day, God never had the luxury of resting since so many people in the world are praying to him non-stop; so many issues in the world for him to tend to; so many lives in the world for him to guide and look after – but that’s probably undermining his omnipotence. For us, who are beings with limited power, it is very hard to understand the concept of God’s omnipotence. But God doesn’t need to rest.
I personally think that one of the most unsung gifts that God has given to us – with subtlety – is structure. With this system of spreading his work out to 6 days and having the 7th day as rest, he gives the world a structure. In the meantime, the seventh day was set aside as a unique day – if you have sets of 7 days, and you do the same thing for 6 days and something else on the 7th day, then that day is surely special. God probably could have created the world in one day and rested for 6 days. Oh, imagine that! So desirable and yet so, so, so undesirable. The 7th day is set aside as holy – and that is, in most of Christianity today, Sunday.
What is your understanding of the Sabbath? I know different people and denominations have different takes on it, but do you rest on Sundays? There are some jobs that cannot break on Sundays. How do you worship God then? Do you have another day set aside for rest, even if you can’t go to church on that day? I don’t know. I’m not even out in the working force yet. But it’s always good to ponder and to reconsider and to recommit ourselves to the concept of a Sabbath.
One last thing I want to point out is the importance of spreading out your work. You can probably finish the week’s worth of work in one day, if you skip lunch and dinner and work overtime till midnight. Well, if you’re in a very busy job, maybe a week’s worth of work is too much of a stretch. But you get my point. I’m that kind of person. I’m in design school, and in design we’re all deadline slavers. We live by deadlines, and we often burn the midnight oil slaving to meet an 8AM deadline. We would barely sleep for the whole semester, and when the holidays arrive, we would sleep more to make up for lost sleep. That’ not very healthy, is it? Physically, emotionally, spiritually. That isn’t how God intended for us to work either. God created the world in 6 days, spreading out his work, and rested for one day. What happened on the 8th day? There is no 8th day mentioned in the Bible. We can only assume that God went back to work. I don’t know. But let’s learn from God. Relax. Spread out your work. Don’t overwork yourselves. Don’t put more than what you can take on your own plate.
As I write this I have a party at home outside my room and they are preparing for the countdown for 2013. Today is the last day of 2012, and wow. This is my 95th consecutive verse studied. It’s been an amazing year. I’ll look forward to the new year, and I’ll commit myself to not overwork – God created the world in 6 days, and he rested for a day. I am not God, and I won’t ever fool myself to think that I can create something in 6 days or complete a project or a task in 6 days, but I will spread out my work more. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to not work on Sundays.
Hope 2012 has been good.
Happy New Year,