God’s First and Last
AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY GOD FINISHED HIS WORKGENESIS 2:2–3
THAT HE HAD DONE, AND HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH
DAY FROM ALL HIS WORK THAT HE HAD DONE. SO GOD
BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND MADE IT HOLY.
The first part of creation that is called holy is not land or a person but time.
Indeed, time beats at the heart of creation’s story. We hear of the times called day and night. The celestial bodies are “for signs and for seasons, and for days and years” (1:14). Like a dance, creation has rhythm and movement, guided by the music of time. And the refrain of this music is Shabbat (“Sabbath”). The verb shabbat means to rest, cease, or celebrate. Israel’s weekly Shabbat celebrated God’s love in creation (Exod. 20:11) and redemption (Deut. 5:15). They were both very good—complete, perfect—so Israel could rest in the Lord of creative redemption and redemptive creation.
When God’s Son came to us, he beckoned, “Come to me . . . and I will give
you rest” (Matt. 11:28). In other words, “I will be your Shabbat.” Having
completed his work of re-creation and redemption while nailed to the
wood of his creation, he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He then rested
in his Shabbat tomb and stepped forth alive again so we can rest forever in
his unending grace.
Prayer: Bring us, O Lord, through your Son, into the Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:9).