Did you know that God was the first rester? That's right, the idea of getting some rest is a biblical concept. In this country, it was devout Christians and Jews who first pushed for time off on Saturdays and Sundays to worship. And though it was Henry Ford who instituted the five day work week in 1926, it was Jesus who said, “Come away by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Actually, the idea of rest goes back even further…for, according to Scripture, the need for “rest” is built in to the very fabric of creation. Turning to Genesis 2:2 we read that “On the seventh [or 'Sabbath'] day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” Does God, the all-powerful creator, need to rest? It seems unlikely. A few weeks ago, my family visited the Huntington Gardens and saw the Titan Arum, or “Corpse” Fower, a 7 foot plant that blooms every 10 years. That’s because it takes that long for it to store up the energy to produce its stinky flower blossom. All living things must store up energy to expend energy, and rest to work. God submitted the whole creation to this cycle and then observed it himself as an example to follow!
Let's briefly consider four practices associated with Sabbath rest. First, genuine Sabbath rest sets aside time for reflection. When God rested from the work of creation...we’re told that he looked around and “saw everything that he had made,” and then reflected on its meaning and value. The conclusion: “It was very good” (Genesis 1:31). When God paused from his work to appreciate it and to reflect on its meaning and value; he was teaching us to reflect not simply on our work…but on God’s work, and to give him praise and thanks.