The more we learn about our universe, our planet and its moon and its place in our solar system, and the placement of the other planets, we are awestruck. It appears that no other planet has the capability of sustaining life as our planet earth does. The 23 degree slant of the earth is a marvel. If it were not tilted at that precise angle, we would not enjoy our seasons. We would either freeze to death or burn up. If our moon did not function in perfect relationship to the earth, we would be flooded by the tides. All of this is the work of our divine creator.
Moses writes, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Gen 2:2-3). God rested from all his work of creation. The omnipotent God needs no rest, as we do, regardless of any power that he exerts. His power is infinite. The rest means to cease. God rested from his creative work.
God blessed the Seventh Day and made it holy, setting it apart from the other six days. God made this day of rest a day that can stimulate and enrich our lives. A day to rest not only our bodies but also our minds and spirits. It is a day for us to look beyond our temporal circumstances to eternal vistas. The heavens remind us that we have a creator. It is a day to contemplate what God wants in our lives both now and in the future. Isaiah said that when we honor the Sabbath, it will become a day of delight (Isa 58:13-14).
The Sabbath also reminds us of our redemption from sin and the transformation that God has done in us. The rest of the Sabbath reminds us, as it did Israel, that we celebrate two important things on this day. First, the remembering of our creator—which tells us of where we came from and how we got here. Secondly, of redemption. As the Israelites celebrated their exodus from Egypt, we too celebrate our exodus from our own Egypt.
One of the reasons I believe we suffer in so many ways is that as a society we profane this Holy Day. God made it for us, and it is our opportunity to rest and honor him, and as a result, we are refreshed. Jesus knew our need of rest as it is stated in his famous invitation to rest:
“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”