“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.” Genesis 2:2
Today is the holiday known in the United States as Labor Day. It is celebrated the first Monday in September each year. The Labor Day holiday was created to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. This holiday is intended to be a national tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our great country. In other words, Labor Day says, “Hey, you work hard. Take a day off to enjoy what you have helped to build.”
The idea of Labor Day did not originate with the United States of America. In fact, it is an idea as old as time that originated in the very beginning of mankind’s existence; and it originated with God. God created a wonderful world, perfect in every way. He spoke into existence the entire universe…every star, planet, moon, and the sun. He told trees to grow and bear fruit with seeds to feed every animal that He made. And to top it all off, He created man and woman in His own image to rule over all that He had made. After surveying all that He had done, and declaring it “very good,” God was pleased. Then He introduced a new word into the human vocabulary…rest.
We find this word used for the first time in Genesis 2:2. Here, God modeled for us a concept that He knew would be vital to a healthy, abundant life – in more ways than one. He took one day to rest from all of the work that He had done. Why did God rest?He couldn’t have been tired. God is all-powerful and never tires. Simply put, God didn’t “rest” as we would, but rather stopped what He was doing. To make sure that we got the point, He established a Sabbath (day of rest) as one of the Ten Commandments. His people were to “remember” the Sabbath day and “keep it holy.” This was not just a physical rest, but also a cessation of laboring. Whatever work they were doing was to stop for one full day each week.
While the Sabbath was certainly for the physical, mental, and emotional good of God’s people, it was much more as well. It symbolized the coming of Jesus – the Messiah – who would bring a permanent spiritual rest for all who believe in Him. Even in their worship, God’s people in the Old Testament worked to be acceptable to God. They offered various sacrifices, observed different feasts, and obeyed strict laws. These sacrifices were offered in anticipation of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross, where He would finally bring an end to the continual sacrifices for sin. Because of Jesus, we can enter a permanent rest, ceasing from our labors to be acceptable to God. Now we can rest in Jesus, our eternal Sabbath.
Dear God, Thank You so much for sending Jesus to die for my sins. Because of His work on the cross, I can have eternal rest in Him, knowing that His sacrifice on the cross has taken away my sins forever. In Your Name I pray, Amen.