I cannot help myself: I’m starting again with Every Word: A Reader’s 90 Day Guide to the Bible. I just love structuring my morning with this Bible reading plan.
When I start Genesis, I always wonder if there’s anything else to learn. I mean, I’ve read it a hundred times maybe. But today, I discover something so beautiful and powerful that I had never noticed before.
A few months ago, I heard a pastor ask if we knew the very first thing God declares as holy in the Bible. Was it creation? People? Himself?
No. The pastor said that it was “rest.” You can check for yourself in Genesis.
So this morning, I read for myself the astonishing statement in Genesis 2: “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
It struck me: God doesn’t need to rest. Why would God declare resting from work holy? Why is it the very first thing, of prime importance, that we understanding this holy moment of resting from work?
Can you guess?
I remembered Hebrews 4:9-10, and my heart began to sing. We read: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.”
The symbol. The signpost. The plan.
Was God setting up a plan of salvation from the very beginning? Was He forecasting how one day soon we would rest from our works-based righteousness and enter into the holiness of Jesus where we receive the gift of salvation through grace alone? Paul tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works. . . ”
God sets it up from the beginning. He declares the holiness of rest that we learn is the rest from earning our salvation, of working for God’s favor.
We rest. And it is a holy place.