Devo Scripture: Genesis 2:1-3
Key Verse: 1 Chronicles 16:11-12 “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgements he uttered.”
Hurry. Is a verb that permeates most of my days. I hurry before the baby cries or the inevitable interruption. I hurry because time keeps ticking. I hurry because I’m late again. Hurry because I’ve set a goal I *must obtain or feel defeated. Hurry because I have “more important” matters to attend to. Hurry because the world tells me to. hurry…feels like I’m always stuck in it.
Perhaps the tendency to hurry is why I almost skipped over the first three verses of Genesis 2. Or perhaps I wanted to skim right over the surface so I wouldn’t have to think about the fallacies of my hustle and bustle approach to life. What if I slowed down? What if I rested? Would I really get that behind? Would I come up short? Or would I gain more than I realize? Gaining not only strength for what lies ahead but quite possibly perspective, peace, and perseverance. Because when I take time to rest I take time to remember. The example was set for us all the way back on the seventh day of creation. A little gem I almost hurried over.
Genesis 2:2 says God rested on the seventh day “from all his work that he had done.” The word “rest” in this instance means “to cease from.” God ceased from his work of creating. It by no means indicates that he ceased from working altogether. Jesus tells us in John 5:17, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” And Hebrews 1:3 tells us Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” My dear friend, God is working, Jesus is working not only upholding all that is around us but working faithfully in us to accomplish His will and purpose (Phil. 1:6). To not have faith that God is working in us, through us, and around us is to doubt the very sovereignty of God.
But on the seventh day of creation, Jesus rested. He ceased from creating not because it was tiresome work; for God does not grow weary (Isaiah 40:28). He ceased and enjoyed that which he had created much as an artist might step back in great satisfaction at the completion of his work. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). As a result God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Meaning he set the day apart from all others. By this God set the pattern for Israel’s Sabbath day. Israel’s day of rest. The very fact that God rested on the seventh day of creation became the basis for the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8, 11).
But why was the Sabbath such a big deal? Why was it of such precedence that it be given the spot of fourth commandment? I give you three reasons: 1. It set Israel apart from other nations and acted as a covenant between them and God. 2. God knew physical rest was important for not only the Israelites but slaves, animals, land, etc. yet it would only be achieved if commanded. 3. It was a designated time to stop the hurry and remember who God was and what He had done for them. He had freed them from slavery and brought them out from the land of Egypt (Deut. 5:15). He had sanctified them. And it was He alone that would forever be God. They were not to forget. They were to remember. They had to remember. It was of utmost importance lest they forget who they were and who they belonged to. But the Israelites did not keep the Sabbath. Perhaps there was just too much to do and too little time. Perhaps the same old story has been woven through the thread of history since the beginning of time. And so Israel… forgot (Ezekiel 20:12-13). They forgot God. They forgot what God had done for them. They forgot who they belonged to. And they turned to idolatry. But what if…WHAT IF they had kept the Sabbath. What if they had taken one day a week and set it aside to remember and reflect on who God was and what He had done. What if…
What if we did the same? What if we kept the Sabbath? A question to surely ponder. Today a debate remains as to whether believers are to keep a “Sabbath” and what exactly that should entail. But it’s not about legality and therefore I will say very little on the matter. Except for this…As a whole America no longer remembers who the Creator is. No longer recognizes the LORD as God. America has forgotten God; forgotten who He is and what He has done. I heard on the radio this week that fifty percent of Americans read the Bible once a year or less. But what if…what if America had kept the Sabbath? Just consider it for a moment. Israel didn’t keep the Sabbath and what happened? They turned away from God and forgot. Has America turned away from God? Has America forgotten God? Has America kept the Sabbath? I think i see a correlation.
And it’s that very correlation that has me contemplating this week. Do I take the time to remember? Do I take time to rest and be still? Or am I too much in a hurry? And if I am in too much of a hurry for God will my children do the same? Oh to be mindful of the example we set for them! God set the pattern for one day out of seven for rest and reflection from the beginning of creation because He knew it would be good not just for Israel but for all people. Physical rest is important no doubt. But even more important is that we take time to remember. So I ask the question this week: Do you set time apart for Him? I mean really set time apart for him….quality uninterrupted uninhibited time? Rest my friend. Rest in Him. Remember our Creator. And may others see by our commitments and habits who it is we belong to, Christ Jesus our Lord.