On the seventh day God rested from his work. God called this day a holy day. Read it yourself in Genesis 2:1-3.
Although it wasn’t yet a commandment, God set an example for people to follow by resting on the seventh day. He also set the day apart when he called it a holy day.
Many years later when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, he included the commandment to remember the Sabboth and keep it holy. God also said not to do any work nor to expect others to work for us on that day. See Deuteronomy 5:12-15.
Opinions swing from one extreme to the other on how to keep the Sabbath holy. Many of our grandparents were so strict that children weren’t allowed to play ball in the yard. Children and adults alike were expected to sit quietly all day and meditate on God. Others have rejected these strict rules and have gone to the other extreme where anything goes on Sunday. They feel that if they spend an hour or two in a worship service, then they can do as they like for the rest of the day.
I personally think we need to honor God with more than a couple of hours in church. God rested the whole day. But I don’t think we need to be idle to rest. Many activities are restful, and for people whose work keeps them sitting at a desk eight hours a day, the most restful thing they might do might include an activity that gets them moving. I remember getting a gentle scolding from a neighbor because I was pulling weeds in my flower garden on a Sunday afternoon. But to me, this was a restful break from the normal activities I did during the week. I could enjoy the birds at the nearby feeders and bluebirds at their nest box while enjoying the fresh air. But, if I had stayed out there several hours and then came in with a backache, I would have to redefine it as work and not a form of rest.
Jesus said that God created the Sabbath for man, he didn’t create man for the Sabbath. This is how he defended the disciples who plucked some grains from a field and ate it on a Sabbath day. See Mark 2:25-28.
People also debate over whether Christians are wrong in making Sunday their holy day of worship in place of the original Sabbath which was Saturday, the seventh day of the week. I can’t in good conscience take a firm stand on this either way. But I know that God has a big heart. I believe he is more concerned that we love him from our hearts than he is on our getting every detail right in a legalistic way. I believe God has room in heaven for people who worship him, whether they make their holy day of rest on Saturday or on Sunday.
Another issue I want to address is that God rested on the seventh day, but that doesn’t mean he was finished working. He had a new week in front of him following his day of rest the same as we do. If God took a permanent vacation beginning on the seventh day it would set the example for all of mankind to do nothing.
So what does God continue to do? The Bible doesn’t exactly spell for us what God does on a day by day basis. We know he is involved in the lives of his children. We read about his covenant with Abraham and his descendants. There are clues all through the scriptures that tell us about God’s intervention in the lives of mankind.
The Bible isn’t as specific about God’s continued involvement in the creation process, but the evidence shows us that his hand is always at work. We know that changes have taken place in our world and in the environment over the years. Fossils show us animals that are no longer in existence today. Astronomers using the Hubble telescope tell us that new galaxies continue to be created in the heavens. It makes perfect sense to me that God continues to be involved in our changing world.
Sadly, there are those who would limit God, or worse, would deny his existence because the don’t think he could be big enough to create a universe as big as ours and still be involved in our daily lives.
But God is bigger than anything we can imagine. If we were capable of imagining all of who God is and what he can do, our minds would have to be as big his. Of course, they are not. God, and God alone, is worthy of our worship and praise.
Listen to: God and God Alone by Steve Green
The Creation by Janice D. Green