We Are a People of Rest

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2: 2-3

I’m reading through the entire Bible for the first time this year, and one of the best resources a friend just shared with me was a podcast episode by the BEMA Podcast called “Trust the Story”. It’s a long one, just about an hour, but I loved how the show’s host broke down Genesis 1 and 2 in a way I’d never heard before.

There’s so much detail in how the first two chapters of the Bible were written, and knowing more makes the story and the creativity of the scriptures all the more beautiful, but one of the last things the host said has stuck with me greatly. He said we often start the story of the Bible with Genesis 3 (the fall, man’s separation from God), but what we fail to realize is that we need to start before at a place of rest.

See, God knew what would happen. He already knew his creation would desire something other than his presence, but he still felt we were worth creating. With the animals, the trees, and the other natural things he created, God said they were good, but when he made humans, he labeled them very good and then proceeded to rest.

God didn’t need rest. The most powerful being in the universe didn’t tire himself out by creating the world; instead he saw that his people were very good (not perfect!) and sat back to enjoy them.

What good news for us. Yes, because of the fall we are now sinful and broken, but because of Jesus (the “new Adam”–Romans 5:14), we have restored us back to God and our original position. We don’t have to strive, or make anything up to God. We can live from a place of rest knowing we are fully loved by God and that he enjoys us.

The hosts of the episode talk about the refrain of Genesis 1 that says “And there was evening, and there was morning…” because it’s so countercultural to us. Why start with night? We view the day as morning to evening, but in the Jewish tradition, the day starts at sundown. Why? One reason is because it’s a way to remember that our resting and weakness bring us closer to God than our productivity and performance.

I want to live like this, live from a place of rest, knowing that I can rest first because God already loves me and enjoys me, and nothing I get done in the day or can do for God will make him love me any more than he already does.

So let’s rejoice in this fact: the work has already been done. Yes, we still have to go to school or work, pay our bills, keep our house clean, but we can do all the daily things of our lives from a place of belovedness. And that is a good, good gift.

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