Because our world spins so fast — with daily demands and responsibilities always seeming to pile up — it’s easy for me to conceive of rest as something I have to fight for. I think about my own personal need for rest, and my next thought is about how I can find a way to grant myself permission and time for rest. 

But … our concept and call to rest does not start with us. When we look to the Scriptures we actually see that we are not the first to rest or delight in rest. And part of our first step in letting the Word of God rewrite our understanding of rest is found in turning to the very beginning.

Read Genesis 1:1 through 2:3. Who is the first to rest in the Scriptures?

How is this rest described? (the description is brief, but dig into the few verses there to uncover some important truths in these verses)

What does God call “good” throughout chapter one?

Before you and I ever arrived on the scene, God was present. He loomed over creation in majesty and perfection and completion. And in His creative power, life flows from Him. His speech creates the entire universe — everything you and I can see and everything we can’t; all of it was created by God. 

And this was work. This was God’s creative, powerful, life-giving work at the foundations of the world. At creation, God was working …. And it was good.

Do you often think of your work as good work? If so, what do you find to be good about it? If not, what keeps you from naming your work good?

What made God’s work “good” in Genesis 1&2?

God’s work was good because God said it was good. As the greatest authority in the universe, God has the right, power, and position to name what is good and what is not. And He named His work “good” without caveats or qualifications. He didn’t say it was efficient work or meaningful work and important work. He said it was good.

Friends, before we learn to rest, we must understand something: the work that God has called us to is good. Work is good (we’ll study this in-depth later this week). If the highest King of the heavens can labor and work and call it good, then you and I need to know that our work today, the work He has put before us this day, regardless of how unimportant or unsatisfying it might be, is good. God did not work because He was required or constrained or obligated, but because it was good work to be done.

It can be easy for you and me to think of rest as a fight against the work we have to do. It’s natural to consider work and rest as enemies that oppose one another and duke it out for a place in our day and schedule. But this was not the case for Elohim (the Hebrew name used for God in Genesis). He worked with delight and rested with delight. Both His work and His rest were good. 

How does this change your perspective on your work? On your rest?

Pray & Reflect:

Thank God for His creative work in Genesis. Thank Him that even work is good in His economy. Ask Him to help you align your understanding of work and rest in such a way that it mirrors His.

Learning Sabbath | An exegetical study of Rest

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