“Let there be… “
With poetry, song, and free style, Yahweh set the dance of life in motion, first building then filling the dance hall with all the dancers, decorations, and drop beats of his imagination. Into the formless and void, the brooding God gave shape and definition to what we call created reality. The final piece of creation was the glorious crown of humanity. God came near, got his hands dirty. Instead of speech, he breathed. The breath of God rushed into a muddy husk and humanity became a living soul. Then God took his seal, his very image, placed it over creation, and called the whole thing very good.
Evening and morning came; six days of creating were done. On the seventh day, God declared Sabbath. The act of creation was complete, it was as good as it could get. Adding anything else would just be ornate and bothersome. Everything was as it should be. It was finished. So, God rested from all the work he had done. The seventh day was blessed and made holy because on it God was finished and he declared everything very good; perfection.
This seventh day rest, this Sabbath gives us our base line for defining rest. God finished his work of creating an ordered, rhythmic, dance of life, and he rested letting the dance run it’s course. He sat back and enjoyed the work of his hand. He delighted in the growing grass, the swimming whales, the flocking birds… he was pleased at how very good everything was. Yahweh did not passively watch creation; this wasn’t his snow globe on a shelf. He chose to engage with creation: planting a garden for humanity to enjoy, establishing human community and companionship, walking with man and woman in the best part of the day. In the Sabbath, the rest after finishing the action of creation, God remained active, engaged, and fully present to his new creation.
Even though the creation even was complete and very good, Yahweh also entrusted humanity with work. If we are to correctly bare his image, be his stamp on creation, to be like him, we have a purpose to our existence. Rest doesn’t mean we lounge about in pj’s and eat fruit from low hanging branches. Resting in the Sabbath of God means we enjoy created reality as it should be, including doing the work entrusted to us.
Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and shepard over it; have authority over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves on the earth… Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
Sabbath; when we rightly express the image of God that we are created to be we find our place in the rest of God.