Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

And God Rested

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you would please remain standing and let's hear God's Word now from Genesis, Chapter Two, verses one through three. Genesis two, verses one through three. This is the word of God. Thus the heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work 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 wholly because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. May God bless this to us. You may be seated well. As we hear in Genesis two, verses one through three, these acts of God, his finishing the work of creation and then resting, of blessing and making the day wholly hum we are reminded, of course, of our own need to rest. We all know that we need to rest. We know how important it is, we know how necessary rest is. Today, of course, is mother's Day, and is there anyone who knows the importance of rest more and desires it more than a mom? Our mothers, of course, are the ones that teach us from early on how important it is to get to bed how much we need a good night sleep and how will feel so much better in the morning. But of course, even as she says these things, we learn as adults, we know that she is...

...longing for them herself. She knows how much you need to go to bed because she knows how much she needs to go to bed. She knows how tired she is and how desperately she wants to be free of your care for just a little while so that she can recoup. That is to say, then, when it comes to rest, we're all in this together, children and parents, young ones, adults, all of us. We all share this common need and this desire for rest. But it's not just sleep that we need. The rest that we need goes deeper than that. We want rest for our bodies, of course, but but also for our souls. It's why, even though our MOM's may be very tired at the end of the day, she might stay up an extra hour just to unwind before she sleeps. That's why one of the number one selling APPs in the iphone store was an APP that helps you get the most out of your sleep, not just to help you get to sleep, but to get the most out of it, to be most restful, most rejuvenating, most refreshing. So it's not that we just want rest. We want something more than that, and rightfully so. We want refreshment, we want meaning as well. We want our work to be finished in a way that we can sort of breathe freely and and be satisfied with, to say that that was a good job, I did a good thing, it's completed and I can rest. We want our moments of rest not to be mere sleep, but to be meaningful and refreshing, whether it's a week end break or a midyear vacation or just a good night's sleep. We want our work not just to end, but to end in a satisfying way. We want our work not just to stop,...

...but we want to rest in peace, as we say at the end of life. Genesis two, one through three explains why this need is so deeply in us. It explains this need for meaningful, refreshing rest. It helps us understand why we are the way we are. As you will see, God worked and rested in the way he did, not because he was tired, not because he ran out of energy, but to set a pattern for us. God worked and rested in this refreshing and meaningful way to set a pattern of life for us, a pattern for us to follow, a law to obey and a reward to enjoy. You work as I have commanded, to be fruitful, multiply rule as I have commanded, and you will enjoy this satisfying rest. Work as I did and rest as I did. But we have to be careful as we consider this, this pattern God gives us to follow, because it's not an optional pattern. These instructions for life are not like the instructions for a new set of legos. They're not optional. You won't be considered a master builder if you decide to take another path or figure out a way on your own. You will be a failure. If you do not do as God has required, your work will not be blessed, but will be cursed instead. Of course, you know this already. The reason you feel the need for rest so deeply, the reason refreshing rest is not optional as because God did not just establish a pattern that you might follow, but that you must follow. That is why we need it.

It is ingrained in us, it is a part of us. It's established this way because of the particular relationship God put us in the particular way in which he institutes these things. So let's look at Genesis two, one through three and see both what it is God did and what it is he made us to do. So first let's consider very carefully what it is God did. The first thing we have to say is that God created the world and finished it. It finished it. We start here because this is so clearly and so obviously a major point of these three verses. You get this in in all kinds of ways. Notice the repetition of this phrase. Were finished. The these verses begin this way. Thus, the heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the host of them here were reminded that the world came into existence and was completed by God. This is remarkable on several accounts. We could spend all day reflecting on just this one thing, but consider just a narrow, narrow thing. Consider what this means in relation to our own work. What can you point to in your life and say with complete satisfaction it is finished. What can you point to in your life and say this thing right here, this one, maybe not this, but this one, this is over and I've done it well and I've done it perfectly and I can rest satisfied. Of course the answer is nothing. Sure you have completed tasks in your lives. You might have closed a sale, you might about to be about to get a degree or fold a basket of laundry or any kind of a number of things we might do, but the customer always...

...wants more. Some aspects of your learning will prove to be inadequate. Even things you thought you had mastered. The laundry will just keep coming and coming and coming. There's nothing that we can ever really point to and say this is completed, this is finished, and I've done it perfectly and I've done it well, I've mastered it in a way that God speaks of his own work here in creation, and so this is God finishing his work. He doesn't just finish it, but he finishes it perfectly. And what he finishes as well is nothing less than the creation of the heavens and the earth. God did not in a degree or fold some laundry or clean some dishes or close a sale. He created the heavens and the earth and all the host that is in them and he finished that work. He finished it completely. This is the first action of God and we see that underlined in the following verses and verses two and three. On the seventh day, God finished his work that he had done. And again in the second half of verse two, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. And then verse three. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it God rested from all his work that he had done. And as you read that and you hear that repetition, as you hear that hit again and again and again, there's this sense of completion that comes even more done, done, done, done. So the point couldn't be more clear. God finished his work of creation. He didn't sort of do it, he didn't almost do it, he didn't try his best, he didn't create a prototype or a Beta addition to be improved upon after some testing. God made the heavens and the earth. He did it well, he...

...did it perfectly and he finished it. So, versus one through three, you tell us that God finishes this work of creation, but we also hear what happens after he finished it. We're told that after God finished the work of creation, he rested. And this is so important because here we see that there's a big difference between stopping your work and resting from it or even in it. The word used here, for rest, has the sense of breathing easy or freely, being satisfied, being refreshed, being at ease and light of what has been accomplished. So, as I mentioned earlier, God does not rest because he's tired. He rests as an expression of his self satisfaction of what he has done. There's no evaluation period here, no probation period, no product testing. God doesn't try to learn from his mistakes now that he's finished his work and see what he can do better next time. He simply rests. He finishes his work and he rests. He rests in the perfection of his Almighty power. He rests in the perfection of his perfect accomplishment of his perfect will, which is to say that God rests not just in his work, but he rests self sufficiently in himself. The last thing God does is bless and consecrate the day. You see that in verse three. We say that God bless the seventh day and made it holy because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Because of God finished his work and he rested. On that day, he blesses...

...it and makes it holy. What does it mean to bless? What does it mean to make holy? To bless it something is to bestow good on it. It is an action from a superior to an inferior. In the Bible it is this divine action most often, in which God bestows good, causes good to flow out from himself onto the things that he's made. The first time we see this is in creation, in the creation of the animals and things that populate the waters and the skies and Exodus one hundred and twenty. God says, let the waters swim with swarms of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of Heaven. So God created the great sea creatures and having living creature that moves with which the waters swarm according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind, and God saw that it was good and God blessed them, saying be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and let birds multiply on the earth. It is a command that has something of a of a promise to it as well. This thing, this intention that God has for them. He wants these animals to be fruitful and to multiply and to fill the next time we see this bestole of good is, of course, on man. In the sixth day, God creates man, male and female, and he calls them, blessing them, and calls them to do similarly, to be fruitful and multiply, and we read this in Verse Twenty Eight of Chapter One. And God bless them and said to them be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. But here we see also that they're not just equal in the animals in this but they rule over the animals. Part of this, this command includes this have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds...

...of the heavens and over every living creature, over every living thing that moves on the earth. And so in this blessing, in this bestole of good, we see God's this desire, this command, this will of God for mankind. If we continue to trace this word. We won't do that now, but if you continue to trace this word throughout genesis, you'll see it connected in very specific ways. I'm to God's promises to his people after the fall of man. I'm God blesses Shem, the Noah, then Ham and then Abraham. And when God gets to Abraham, if you're too if you were to do a search of this word, you'll see that all of a sudden this word starts happening a lot. Bless bless, bless, bless, bless, blessed, blessed all throughout Genesis, Chapter Twelve, throughout the story of Abraham and Abraham's sons, when God makes this promise to them, this covenant of Grace, he begins to, I'm cause this blessing to really out out pour in a special way. He Bestows Approval, He Bestows Peace, He bestows temporal blessings, eternal blessings and promises. Well, this word blessing that is poured out on these creatures is here poured out on a day, the seventh day. God blesses the seventh day. He Pours Out Good, bestows good on this day, and he also makes it holy. To make it holy, to make something holy is to consecrate it unto God. It's to set it apart, and so here we see God setting apart the day for himself. There are some contraries to holy. One is unh holy. Obviously but also common. I'm things that are not are common, are not...

...holy. But God here takes a day. The other days were good, one, two, three, four, five, six, but on the seventh day he makes it holy, special, he sets it apart, unto himself, for his special honor, for his special use. Holiness will come, this word will come to be filled with meaning as you continue to read throughout the Bible and throughout the first five books and in particular, we see it illustrated in all kinds of ways. Holiness illustrated in Old Testament worship and the beauty and transcendence of the temple, in God's purity and election, in worship and holiness and perfection. God himself is called holy and Isaiah, six, three, holy, Holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. This holiness is then given to this day, not at set apart from God, but but unto God. And so we see God making the seventh day because of the way that he finishes his work and he rests. He makes it special by blessing it, by making it holy. And one other wail tack on, if I might, by make it the seventh. There's no particular reason it had to be the seventh the fact that it's the seventh really stands out. Among all the world's of various religions, most often holy days, consecrated days, days that are set aside onto to God or to false gods, are days that correspond with other things, like calendars in particular months, years, cycles of the sun, comments, all kinds of things. There doesn't seem to be any particular reason that it's set on the seventh, except...

...that God rested on that day and made it holy. And in this we see the great sovereignty of God. We see him setting, by his own perfect and holy will, a number that will come to symbolize a number of perfection and scripture, of wholeness and completion. And so in all kinds of ways, God is signifying that this day is special because of the work that he had done and the rest that he had entered into. So this is the work that God did. He finished his work of creation, he wrested from it, he blessed this day and he made it holy. Now how does this relate to man? There's nothing here that explicitly tells us this is for man, but there are several things that we might consider, both from genesis and from other passages in scripture. First, remember that this didn't just happen in the abstract. This is happening in time and in space on the seventh day. And you remember who was created right before the seventh day? It was man. We might say in a certain sense, that what the things that God is doing and saying here on the seventh day are coming within earshot of the one that he has made, this one that he has called to bear his image and to work after is is the one whom he is seeing his Lord, his commander, his sovereign, his maker, working and then resting. This pattern is made explicit in other places in scripture, liken at in the Ten Commandments and Exodus Chapter Twenty. We read in Exodus Twenty, verse eight, remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Jehovah, your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male servant or your...

...female servant, or your live stock or the soul journer who is within your gates. For here's the reason why. For in six days Jehovah Made Heaven and Earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the whole of a blessed the Sabbath Day and made it holy. And so God explicitly tells us what, how was happening in the beginning of creation, a kind of cycle that Israel is called to repeat over and over and over again in their lives. Work, then wet rest, work then rest, work than rest. This is the pattern that God is set. Because he did things this way, you shall follow after this. There's one more thing I want to point your attention to, back in Genesis two one through three, and that goes back to this blessing and making holy. Remember that God blessed the day. He bestows good on it. But we might ask in what sense? On the day or on the other or on the day for those who would follow after him? God bless the Sabbath Day for our good. He pours out good in particular for us. The fact that God is blessing the day in genesis two three is immediately reminding us and telling us of our connection with it. As Jesus puts it, the Sabbath was made for man. The Sabbath was made for man. The same is true for God, making it holy. It shows us that our rest is to be found not in our own working, ultimately, even though we may follow after God in this pattern, but we rest in his rest. We enjoy our rest as we find it in God. So as we think of all of these things, as we think of this work that God did and the way that he did this work and the context of this...

...relationship with Adam and eve and all of those of us who come after them, we again we begin to get a very serious and robust explanation for why you feel the way you feel, why you need the rest you need, because you were made for this, because God specifically established our relationship with you in this way, a relationship that you can't opt into or opt out of. You simply belong to it by virtue of your being made and called to follow after him. It explains why things are the way they are and why you feel the way you feel, but what it doesn't explain is why it doesn't work. It doesn't explain why, despite all your longing and your yearning for peace, you never find the rest and you never will it never it doesn't explain to us why, despite your longing, in your yearning for peace and rest, you also hunger after the very opposite of those things. Why, when you want peace, you go to war and why, when you want rest, you work harder? And why, even in the most the times when you have the greatest opportunities to rest, even as we typically define them, long periods of vacation or things like that, you find yourself compulsively checking your email and trying to get something done and being productive even in it. And some really interesting articles lately by David Zol he makes this great insight that lately we've been coopting our rest, even for work. We can't even rest any more for rest's sake, but we optimize it, we calculate it, we do the best we can to make our rest good for work,...

...as if it's only purpose is just to allow us to work. All the more. Why do should you rest because you'll be more productive later in the week? You see, in this sense, are continual striving over and over and over, even in our resting. There's so many ways in which God calls us to this rest, and then we pervert and go after other things we pursued in our own way. We fail to even understand what it is is. We pursue after other ends and perhaps worst of all, we pursue them in our own means. God causes us to follow after him, to rest in him, to find our joy and our satisfaction and our peace and our refreshment in him and in the things that he has done and our being and are following after him. But what did Adam and Eve do? What do we do? Did they find their self their satisfaction in God and in himself? Know, they sought it in their own power and in their own ways. They wanted to rest not in God but in themselves and in their work. And because of this it is great sin, it is great disobedience. And what ends up happening, of course, and it's a yet another explanation for why we can't rest the way we want to, why a good nap is always sort of elusive and always hoping for the next thing. It's because of punishment, and it's not only a just punishment for failing to obey God and work as he has called us to work and then rest as he has called us to rest. It's also a necessary punishment. How can man...

...rest in the holiness of God when he's not resting in God and his blessing, but striving after his own way and wanting to find his own path and doing his own things. When man wants to sin instead of obey and then find true peace and rest in that, apart from God, it is of course a necessary punishment that rest would be taken away from him. True rest is rest in God, and man wants rest in himself, and so man will not receive rest, but will receive curse instead. All this to say you can strive all you want, but nothing's going to come of it. In the fall, your internal wiring has all been twisted up and corrupted, that the closer you come to understanding what true peace and what true rest is, the more you will separate it like a magnet hitting its polar opposite, moving you, repelling you away. You will continue your striving, you will continue your cursed work and you're even in your resting, you will find that you are continually lacking and wanting. This is man stayed in the fall. This is what sin and disobedience brings. It explains both why we want rest so bad but why we don't have it. It's a part of the curse and it's a part of our messed up insides, are bentedness away from the things of God. But God, in His grace and in His mercy, provides a solution to this problem. God gives us the rest that you cannot obtain. He fulfills the work that he has called you to do. He blesses you in the midst of your curse. How does he do this?...

He does it by, in the fullness of time, sending the Lord, Jesus Christ, who is called in the Gospel the Lord of the Sabbath, the Lord of peace, of rest. And he is the Lord of the Sabbath not only because he is the one who created all things and rested, the one who instituted the sabbath and calls it his own, but he's also the Lord of the Sabbath and the way that he brings us cursed, wretched, sinful people that can't recognize rest and, when they do, flee from it, and he takes us in our curse and in all of our sinful working and he gives to US peace. God comes in Jesus Christ and he fulfills the law that we were unable to fulfill. He obeys God in the way that he called, that God originally called man to obey. He does it perfectly, he does it completely and more than that, he also endures the Anti Sabbath, the Anti Resting, he endures the curse on the Cross and the death and the wrath and all of those things that can were poured out on him for us. And do you remember what he says? It is finished, it is finished, and it does finished. Jesus Christ finished the work, not just that God did in creation, that he did in creation, but now he is finishing the work of redemption, of salvation, of bringing cursed, unrestful, ungrateful people into peace, into blessing and into holiness. When God created the world, he established this eternal law and rule for man, but because of the fall, man was going to eternally break...

...that rule and fail to obtain that blessing, earning for him curse and still in curse for himself. Instead. This would be, of course, in temporal expressions of this, lost naps, lost sleep, bad vacations, frustrations and all of all kinds, but even worse in the eternal expressions of this. We're in that five or of Hell. Man would rest not a moment but would endure a curse forever and ever. But when Jesus came, he interrupted all of this to give His grace to those whom he desired to save. He fulfilled his law in our place and offers to US rest. Because of His grace. The Sabbath, which is a so clearly a law in Genesis two, one through three and condemns it if we seek it on our own, becomes a great blessing to us and I promise to us, when we have it in Jesus Christ and in his righteousness. All of your life you will struggle to find the rest that you want and you need. All of your life you will be tempted, according to the flesh, to find rest in your own ways, in another way, but in Christ, God freely gives to you something that is separate from yourself, separate from your own ways and your own glories, a glory that is of him and a rest that is eternal and real. In Christ, God has promised a rest from your labors, the good ones and the bad ones, so that you might rest eternally in him for all the future and body and soul and so on. Conclusion, we all know we need to rest temporarily and eternally. Our...

...problem is that we don't know how and that we don't know how. Not Not only that we don't know how, but we also don't want to know how. We'd rather work. We'd rather work for our reward. We'd rather rest in ourselves and our own productivity than resting in God. If we do rest, we want it to be in our sinful pleasures or in our obedience to the law. But this, my friends, is a dead end. It will result in temporal burnout and in eternal hell. But Jesus gives us something different. He gives us a real solution to a problem that we really face. He gives us true and eternal let rest. He gives us himself, the Lord of rest, the giver of life. He is that cup of cold water that quenches the flame and our thirst. He is that word that comes and calms the storm and, as he says it himself in Matthew and twenty eight, come to me, all who labor and our heavy Laden and I will give you rest. May God grant this grace to us that we might rest in him and know him forever. Let us pray.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (645)