Holiday Values: Rest

rest“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:1-3)

Have you ever wondered why God rested?

He wasn’t tired from the work of creating the universe. “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4) “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)

So why did he do it? The Bible doesn’t answer this question directly, but when Jesus was questioned about his Sabbath practices, he answered, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) The Sabbath was made for man’s benefit—not God’s.

God knew how important it would be to give us mortals a time to pause, rest, reflect, and worship. There were no exceptions to the Sabbath law. It was for the rich and the poor alike. Sabbath was a weekly reset that reminded finite humans of our dependence on our infinite creator. God ordained many special occasions in the Old Testament: Passover, Feast of Booths, Pentecost, and many others. These interrupted the flow of normal life to remind people to trust the power of God.

I know that Christmas and New Year’s aren’t divinely-mandated days, but the idea of taking a day off to rest and reflect is God’s invention and instruction. Whatever your family’s custom is this time of year, make sure you remember who came up with the idea.