Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 3 2019 - Genesis 2:1-3 – Entering God's rest

Nowadays it does not take much to get me exhausted. After a long walk or a few hours of gardening I have to sit down and take a good rest. If I've had a particularly busy day I long for my bed and for the refreshment that is gained through the unconscious hours of sleep.

After six days of creating the heavens and earth and all that is in them, God also took a rest. But his rest was quite different from ours. God did not rest because he was exhausted. His powers were undiminished after his great work of creation. God's rest was not to recover from back-breaking work. His was a rest of contemplative enjoyment of all that he had made – like a great artist who stands back from his finished masterpiece to admire and marvel at his own work.

"God", we read, "blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work he had done in creation." God declares the seventh day holy, special, not for his own sake but for ours. God sets this day apart that we might rest with him and in him. God invites us to enter into his rest – to take a break from our own busy labour and to join him in contemplative enjoyment of all that he has made. He calls us to pause and to take delight in the work of the greatest of all artists.

"What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" wrote W H Davies. How often do you just stop and stare at the beauty of the world around you. How often do you stop to gaze at the beauty of a sunset or of a sunrise that sets the horizon ablaze? How often do you gaze at the stars in a night sky, amazed at the vastness and grandeur of our universe? How often do you stop in wonder at the perfection and delicate beauty of a flower or the intricacy of an insect? How often do you look beyond the creation to see the power and majesty of its Creator?

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!

God's gracious invitation to enter into his rest is not to be turned into the litany of legalistic prohibitions that has sometimes marked his people's keeping of the Sabbath. Such Sabbaths have been anything but restful. God's call is a gracious invitation to enjoy fellowship with him and to rest in his ability to do all things well. It is to be delightful, refreshing and, in the truest possible sense, recreational.

Take time to enjoy the world God has created. He has given it all to us for our enjoyment as well as for our care.

Forgive us Lord that we are often so busy with our own work and preoccupations that we do not stop and stare. We fail to marvel at the wonders of the world that you have made and to respond to you gladly with thanksgiving and praise. Slow us down Lord. Open our eyes to see your glory and goodness displayed in creation. Enable us to rest content in you.

Peter Misselbrook