Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)
Why Did God Rest?
Moses was the first man to have a front-row seat to the power of the creation. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the great prophet unfolded the scenes of creation day by day as the dark world unformed and turbulent took on the form of the eternal power of God’s creation. In six days, the world was filled with mountains, rivers, and seas filling with vegetation and animals. The heavens appeared with stars and planets in the expanse of the universe. On the final day of creation, God formed man from the dust and with a rib from Adam created Eve. It was an incredible world made in perfection and created for a perfect fellowship. Moses writes when God finished His creation that He rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. For what purpose would the Creator need to rest on the seventh day?
Isaiah declared that God never wearies. Without a proper view of why God rested on the seventh day the focus of God setting aside the Sabbath under the Law of Moses would be missed. The prohibitions against working on the seventh day did not come into being until the giving of the Law by God to Israel at Mt. Sinai. When the seventh day of creation came, there was no need for the Lord to rest because He was worn out from creating the world. In other words, it should not be assumed (mistakenly) that God rested because He was tired or exhausted from all the ‘work’ of creation. Jesus reminded the Jewish leaders the Sabbath was made for man, not the Lord. The purpose of God resting on the seventh day was a time of fellowship desired by God with man. He chose that day to commune with man and to enjoy a time of fellowship with man. It was a time when man would learn a hard lesson about trusting God.
When Moses gave the law to Israel forbidding work on the Sabbath, it was not the intent of the Lord to allow man a day off from work (as if he needed a day off). Under the law of the Sabbath, every seven years the land was to be laid fallow for one year before planting crops. The underlying purpose of the Sabbath was to teach man to trust in God. Not working on the Sabbath would take preparation and believing the Lord would care for them on that day. Allowing a piece of land to lie fallow for a year would take incredible courage and diligent faith that God would take care of them for that year. God rested on the seventh day to show man that fellowship with Him was the purpose of their existence. Man needed to learn to trust in his Creator and to worship the One who made him and formed him. The rejection of God has always been when men refused to accept the invitation of rest from the Father to join Him in a spiritual fellowship. Heaven is a place of rest – not from weariness or heavy toil – but a place of eternal joy to be in the presence of the Lord God. What was lost in the Garden of Eden is regained in the Revelation garden as a man walks before the Lord in full communion in the city of eternal redemption.