5 to you it shall be for food. 30 A lso, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 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. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. 4 This is the history a of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth,
G E N E S I S 2:12 and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Life in God’s Garden
8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land
2:4 a Hebrew toledoth, literally generations
• G e n . 2:1–3 A Day of Rest
When God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done,” He modeled for humanity His intention for a weekly day of rest. Clearly He did this for our sake, because unlike people, God does not tire or need to rest. The Lord rested in a way unique to Him, and He pointed the way for humans to find their own rest. The term Sabbath has the root meaning of “cessation.” On the seventh day God ceased His work of creating the world (Ex. 20:8–11). However, He did not stop His work of sustaining and maintaining the world (Ps. 145:15, 16; see also “Sustaining the World” at Col. 1:17). This distinction helps to clarify the significance of the Sabbath, a day which God set aside (or “sanctified”) and blessed. His intention was that people would emulate Him by pausing from their labors—the exercise of their dominion over creation (Gen. 1:28–30)—for one day out of seven. This day of rest was not merely a day off. One of the most important purposes of the Sabbath was to fix a day for individuals and communities of believers to worship and focus on God (Is. 58:13, 14). We are not free to ignore God on the other six days, because every day belongs to Him (see “The Lord’s Day” at Rom. 14:5–13). But designating one day as a regular opportunity to come before the Lord demonstrates our dependence on Him as Creator and our obedience to Him as Lord. This means that the Sabbath—or, in the New Testament era, the Lord’s Day—was not intended as a pause to catch up on chores or relax. Nothing is wrong with those pursuits, but God appointed this day for us to “stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another” (Heb. 10:24, 25).
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Christians often struggle to know how to keep the Lord’s Day as a day of rest. Significantly, Jesus pointed out that God established this day of rest for the sake of people, not people for the sake of the day (Mark 2:27). Sabbath observance is not a legalistic obligation. Conditions occasionally require work on the Sabbath, like rescuing an ox stuck in a ditch (Luke 14:5). Basic human needs do not cease on Sundays (see “Doing Good on the Sabbath” at John 5:1–17). Yet the spirit of Sabbath observance implies we should take action to prevent getting stuck in the ditch with the ox on the Sabbath, or needing the Sabbath to complete routine tasks. When God set aside the seventh day, He did not intend to turn Sabbath-keeping into a life-stealing rule. He meant for the Sabbath to provide true liberty from work as tyranny, giving freedom to enjoy fellowship with God, neighbors, and loved ones. M o r e : Discover what makes every seventh day special. See
“Keeping the Sabbath” at Ex. 20:8–11; “Doing Good on the Sabbath” at John 5:1–17; “Connecting Sunday to Monday” at Acts 2:46, 47; and “The Lord’s Day” at Rom. 14:5–13. The Sabbath also helps us understand what it means to trust in Christ’s work on the cross rather than working to merit salvation. See “The Sabbath” at Heb. 4:1–13. The famous sprinter Eric Liddell refrained from running preliminary heats in the Olympics because they were held on a Sunday. See p. XXXX for an article on the life of Eric Liddell.
5/13/13 6:02 PM
Published on Jun 4, 2013
As members of the modern age, we sometimes feel disconnected from the world of the Bible. But if we look closely, we can see that although c...