Last updated on September 26, 2020
By the end of the sixth day of Creation, the first man and woman had been not only given each other, but had been blessed by God to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth — the earth that they were given the responsibility and authority to rule over. On the seventh day, the Rest of God began. Let us look at that Rest and what it meant for God and for humankind.
Genesis 2:1-3 TPT
And so the creation of the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day, God had completed creating his masterpiece, so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. So God blessed the seventh day and made it sacred, because on it, he paused to rest from all his work of creation.”
As you look at the full text of Genesis 1-2, you will see something very interesting. At the end of the first day of creation, we are told “God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Genesis 1:5 NASB) This is repeated for each of the six days. The word for “day” in Hebrew is “yowm”, which can be translated as a 24 hour day, daytime, or a period of time.
The way in which the first six days end indicate that “yowm” is being used to speak of a 24 hour day for the first six days of creation, but when we come to day seven, there is no marking of the end of the day. Was that an accidental oversight? No, so let us look further..
Obviously, we have experienced 24 hour periods of time we call “day” since then, and they are marked by the movement of our planet around the sun. But the seventh day that God established, and set apart, is totally different. It takes an awareness and understanding of the fullness of the scriptures of the Bible to see the whole picture of what our Creator demonstrated to us in the seventh day Rest (the Hebrew word is “shaboth”).
Join me once again in the Garden. What do we see? What do we hear? At the end of the sixth day, our Creator stops and views all that He had just brought into being. He sees the world He just created, new and full of vibrant life, and His heart is full of rejoicing. I would have loved to have seen His face as He smiled and laughed with the joy that comes from expressing all that is in one’s heart through what you create. As we watch, He turns and announces to all in the spirit realm and all in the natural realm: This day, this seventh day, marks the perfect completion of all that I have made, and I now invite you all to enter with me into My Rest. Step into all that I have established and prepared. Enjoy a life in My Presence, living with Me, walking with Me, becoming and doing all that I created You to be. You are My workmanship, my intricate poetry:
Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.“
And in the Passion Translation: “We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!”
We can obtain a better understanding of God’s intended Rest, for all those who would step into it, in Hebrews 4:1-11.
May I stop and try to quickly explain the context for this scripture. Much of the Old Testament of the Bible describes the history of Israel and God’s dealings with them. They were not only the people group from whom God would provide the Savior, Jesus, for the whole world, but His laws and ways with them were “shadows” or explanations of greater truths for all of us. One of the laws God set down was the keeping of the Sabbath day (seventh day) as holy and set apart. It was a day they were to turn their focus more fully on God and not to do any work.
In Isaiah 53:13-14a (TPT), we see:
“‘If you stop pursuing your own desires on my holy day, and refrain from disregarding the Sabbath, if you call the Sabbath a delightful pleasure and Yahweh’s holy day honorable, if you honor it properly by not chasing your own desires, serving your own interests, and speaking empty words, then you will find the joyous bliss that comes from serving Yahweh. And I will cause you to prosper and be carried triumphantly over the high places of the land.’”
There were also times when the Sabbath rest was associated with years (they were to rest the land and not farm it every seven years.)
After the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt for hundreds of years, God miraculously brought them out of Egypt through the leadership of Moses. They traveled through the desert to the “Promised Land” that God had shown to their ancestral father, Abraham. When it came time to enter into the Promised Land, they were too afraid to enter in because of the strength and size of the people who lived there. They believed the “facts” of the situation and their fear more than the truth and promises of God. Most of that generation ended up dying in the desert, and it was their children years later (led by Joshua) who finally believed God and entered in.
Now in the New Testament of the Bible, we are given a revelation of the spiritual truth that their past choices demonstrated.
Hebrews 4:1-11 TPT
“Now God has offered to us the same promise of entering into his realm of resting in confident faith. So we must be extremely careful to ensure that we all embrace the fullness of that promise and not fail to experience it. For we have heard the good news of deliverance just as they did, yet they didn’t join their faith with the Word. Instead, what they heard didn’t affect them deeply, for they doubted.
For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest! For he has said, ‘I was grieved with them and made a solemn oath, ‘They will never enter into the calming rest of my Spirit.’
God’s works have all been completed from the foundation of the world, for it says in the Scriptures, ‘And on the seventh day God rested from all his works’. And again, as stated before,’They will never enter into my calming place of rest.’ Those who first heard the good news of deliverance failed to enter into that realm of faith’s-rest because of their unbelieving hearts. Yet the fact remains that we still have the opportunity to enter into the faith-rest life and experience the fulfillment of the promise!
For God still has ordained a day for us to enter into called “Today.” For it was long afterwards that God repeated it in David’s words, ‘If only today you would listen to his voice and do not harden your hearts!’ Now if this promise of “rest” was fulfilled when Joshua brought the people into the land, God wouldn’t have spoken later of another “rest” yet to come. So we conclude that there is still a full and complete “rest” waiting for believers to experience. As we enter into God’s faith-rest life we cease from our own works, just as God celebrates his finished works and rests in them. So then we must give our all and be eager to experience this faith-rest life, so that no one falls short by following the same pattern of doubt and unbelief.”
Do you hear or feel the inner inviting voice of God’s Spirit, calling you into the Rest of His Presence, to join Him as His beloved? It is a place of “faith-rest”, trusting Him in all of His goodness, inclining your ear to His Voice, believing His every word, and enjoying the walk of intimate relationship with Him. The first man and woman, and all of their descendants, were invited to live forever in His Rest. We do not know how long they enjoyed the Rest of God before that terrible day when they stepped away, but those days must have been amazing!
Jesus is our perfect example, while He physically walked this earth, of what it means to live in the Rest of God. Filled with, empowered by, and led by the Holy Spirit of God, He was fully engaged in His humanity with those around Him. He lived in their midst, teaching them with His words and His life. His short life was spent healing all those who came to Him. His life-giving touch brought healing and deliverance in their physical body, their soul (mind, will, and emotions), and in their spirit. The culmination of His life was at the cross, where He was crucified in our place, His payment for our sins — for all people for all time. Jesus worked, but He worked from the place of the Rest of God and awareness of His Father’s Presence. Jesus described it this way:
John 5:17-20 TPT
“Jesus answered his critics by saying, ‘Everyday my Father is at work, and I will be too!’ This infuriated them and made them all the more eager to devise a plan to kill him. For not only did he break their Sabbath rules, but he called God ‘my Father,’ which made him equal to God. So Jesus said, ‘I speak to you timeless truth. The Son is not able to do anything from himself or through my own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father.”Because the Father loves his Son so much, he always reveals to me everything that he is about to do. And you will all be amazed when he shows me even greater works than what you’ve seen so far! For just like the Father has power to raise the dead, the Son will raise the dead and give life to whomever he wants.’”
John 8:28-29 TPT
“‘You will know me as ‘I AM’ after you have lifted me up from the earth as the Son of Man. Then you will realize that I do nothing on my own initiative, but I only speak the truth that the Father has revealed to me. I am his messenger and he is always with me, for I only do that which delights his heart.’”
John 12:49-50 TPT
“‘For I’m not speaking as someone who is self-appointed, but I speak by the authority of the Father himself who sent me, and who instructed me what to say. And I know that the Father’s commands result in eternal life, and that’s why I speak the very words I’ve heard him speak.’”
John 14:10-14 TPT
“‘Don’t you believe that the Father is living in me and that I am living in the Father? Even my words are not my own but come from my Father, for he lives in me and performs his miracles of power through me. Believe that I live as one with my Father and that my Father lives as one with me—or at least, believe because of the mighty miracles I have done. ”I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him. Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!’”
Jesus calls us to His side, inviting us into His Rest:
Matthew 11:28-30 TPT “‘Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.’”
Jesus is our Sabbath Rest.
The Passion Translation of Hebrews 4:9 contains this footnote: “The Aramaic can be translated ‘He arose to be the Sabbath for the people of God.‘”
The Rest we are to enter into is not only an everlasting dwelling place in God’s Presence, in His Kingdom realm, but it is also a teaching moment for us to consider.
As God created and brought forth each aspect of His creation, He would end the day by declaring, “It is good”. At the end of day six, the last of His creation was done, and when He looked over the fullness of what he created, He declared, “It is very good.” The following day, Day seven, God “rested”, not because He was tired and was taking a break, but because He was demonstrating the importance of taking time to stop often and celebrate with joy the goodness and beauty of the works of our hands as we go forward in our journey, as we walk out our calling and destiny — who He created us to be and the works for which God uniquely designed us. We see this in Ephesians 2:10 (above) and in:
Psalm 139:13-16 TPT
“You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something.
You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book.”
May I propose that our “delicate inside” is our spirit and soul, wrapped in all the personal gifting and abilities and passions that He built into us.
As we live in His Rest, may we take time to stop and celebrate, with thankfulness, the small and giant steps we have taken at the end of each day, each week, each year. If we don’t, we will very likely miss the victories and lessons that fill our moments, but instead walk in the regrets and stress of “failure” and in the feeling of never doing or being enough. We will miss the daily “God moments” in our lives, the victories that God celebrates in each one of us. In this way, in the way of His Rest, we honor Him and enter into the joy of the Lord, for it is in His presence that there is fullness of joy!
Psalm 16:11 NASB
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
May we learn to say often in this place of Rest, as we take each breath, “Thank You, Lord, for this moment. And for this moment. And for this moment…”
And now it is your turn:
- Have you entered into the Rest of God, trusting Him with your life and all it contains?
- What does the Rest of God look like in your life? What are the many ways in which you are aware of what the Father is doing and saying, that you may walk and work together with Him?
- At the end of each day, take time to stop and recall the events of the day, the small moments of loving words and actions, the victory of wise choices, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. You may not have been able to “cross everything off your list” for the day, but God smiles on our heart choices and is continuing to work in our every day circumstances to complete what He has begun in our life, and through our life. Zechariah 4:10a (NET)— “For who dares make light of small beginnings?”
- Take time to recount the day, as above, with your children and spouse.
- End your day, week, year with a heart and mouth full of thankfulness and praise, worshiping the One who gives us His Rest.
Next time, we will move into Genesis 3 and watch the event that changed their lives, and ours. And we continue to step closer to understanding: Why Jesus?
Notes and References:
- Hebrew and Greek words and their meanings were taken from www.blueletterbible.com
- Abbreviations for Bible translations, as used at www.biblegateway.com
- NASB = New American Standard Bible
- TPT = The Passion Translation
- NET = New English Translation
- Letter colors:
- Green = what the author is sharing as she meditates on the scripture and receives from Holy Spirit