The Old Testament Law rooted its command to set apart the seventh day as a sabbath in the creation account.
Read Genesis 2:1-3
God has created the world, he has formed it and filled it. He has named things and ordered them. H has blessed his creation. Now, having blessed his creation, he blesses time, specifically the seventh day. By blessing it, he is setting it aside for his enjoyment and delight. So, God rests on the seventh day.
If God rests, then this must teach us a few things about what rest is – or at least specifically Sabbath rest. It cannot mean that God is exhausted, sleeps, takes his eye off the ball, heads off for some “me time.” It’s not about a vacation or hobbies for him. Nor is it (as per our usual Saturdays), time for catching up with the housework, DIY and shopping. All of those things belong properly to work.
I want to suggest that for God, Sabbath rest involves three things:
- Completion. There is a recognition that a specific work is finished.
- Evaluation. God looks again at his work and concludes not just that it is good but that it is very good.
- Enjoyment. This is implied from the evaluation. Now is time for God to delight in and to celebrate his works. This will be with his creatures, not apart from them. God will walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
I personally believe that Sundays are best thought of as the Christian Sabbath. I believe that gathering as church should enable us to mark those three things too. This of course means that we look back on our own endeavours, recognising that these come to an end and reach completion. It involves enjoying the fruit of our spiritual labours together and so it is also about recognising and remembering Christ’s finished work.
Sunday therefore should be a day of rest and enjoyment for the whole church family – including the pastor/elders.