Rest

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

Genesis 2:1-3

Sometimes I wonder what God did when he rested.

The word for “rested” here is shabath, Sabbath. This word is not an entirely restful word. In Jeremiah 48:35, God says “I will bring to an end in Moab him who offers sacrifice in the high place and makes offerings to his god.” The phrase “I will bring an end” is shabath. In Hosea 2:11, he declares “And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts.” Yes, God will Sabbath their Sabbaths. And perhaps the most extreme, in Deuteronomy 32:26 when it says “…I will cut them to pieces; I will wipe them from human memory,” the phrase that the ESV translates “I will wipe them from human memory” is more literally “I will cease their memory among men”. Once again, shabath.

After a week of enforced isolation, one lesson I’m learning (which seems to be borne out in the Hebrew language) is that Sabbath is an active word. Sabbath is not taking your foot off the gas, it’s slamming on the brakes. It’s an intentional cessation; of work, in this case. God didn’t run out of stuff to create. He looked at what he did and he said to himself, “OK. Enough!”

I want to fight for rest like God did. I want to Sabbath. Not because I have to, but because just as there’s something divine about the act of creation, there’s also something divine about the act of stopping and saying “Enough.”

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