Why did God rest on the seventh day? In the biblical context, rest gains prominence in the creation account. It seems to be an essential part of God’s creative activity. However, many wonder why God, being omnipotent and all-powerful, would need to rest.
Metaphorically, the seventh day’s rest for God is a picture of the rest we have in Jesus Christ. Christians stop working on the seventh day, the Sabbath day, and the day of rest, just as God did. The Everlasting God, however, does not require replenishment as we do.
Thus, the entire host of them, including the heavens and the earth, was completed. God’s rest was on the seventh day because he had completed the job he had been working on. Because God rested on the seventh day from all creation-related work he had done, he blessed and declared it holy.— Genesis 2:1–3
Why Did God Rest On The Seventh Day Of Creation?
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.— Genesis 2:3
In Genesis 2:2 (NRSV) of the creation account, we read: “And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.”
The passage in Genesis 2:2–3 clearly states that God rested, rather than claiming he “ought” to do so. Scripture makes it apparent that God did not rest because he was exhausted, for the Lord God is an “Almighty God” (Genesis 17:1). Thus, God’s rest does not have anything to do with being tired or weary. In fact, the Hebrew word translated “rested” in Genesis 2:2 has a deeper meaning for the cessation of God’s creative activities.
“God is all-powerful; he never gets tired and never needs to take a break” (Psalm 147:5). “Great is our Lord and tremendous in power; his comprehension is limitless” (Isaiah 40:28). God is the totality of perfection; he is never lessened in any way. The eternal God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, never faints or is weary.
The Hebrew word for God’s rest implies more than just being worn out. On the seventh day of creation, God “rested” and “stopped working,” but it was for a reason; he had already created everything he had wished to. He stopped working because all that he had created was “perfect” (Genesis 1:31).
God finished all of his work on the sixth day. The Hebrew word Shabbat (to cease or to stop) means that God “ceased” creating on the seventh day for the simple reason that everything that he had created was good and his work was finished.
The rest God enjoyed on that day held such deep significance that it was later reflected in the Christian tradition. The Law of Moses stated that there should be no work on the seventh day, and this idea of “Shabbat” has been passed over into the Jewish tradition as the “Sabbath” (Saturday).
The Israelites were to stop working on the Sabbath since God had stopped working that day. The seven-day week is thus universally observed and based on the creation days.
Why Did God Call The Seventh Day Holy?
For in six days, the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.— Exodus 20:11
Holiness denotes completeness. Being holy entails being whole, entirely fulfilled, and flawlessly faultless. Why were the other six days not religious, but the seventh day was? This is because day seven was the holy day.
It indicates that God ceased creating on the seventh day, and he blessed it. A man receives many blessings when the everlasting God bestows his gifts upon him. When God bestows his gifts on a nation, it is blessed. Therefore, when he blesses a day, it is filled with blessings.
God “blessed” and “hallowed” the rest day, according to Genesis 2:3 and Exodus 20:11, respectively. He turned it into a blessing and made it holy. The blessing includes the hallowing, and the hallowing consists of the blessing.
When you honor God and give him your full attention, you are blessed more than when you continue to occupy your time with worldly pursuits seven days a week, believing that success in your career and material wealth will bring you true contentment. Conversely, you recognize God and his holiness as incredible wealth when you seek your blessing in him rather than in the fruits of human labor.
Everything comes from, goes through, and goes to him. We should set aside one day out of seven to stop working and concentrate on God as the source of all blessings, lest we ever forget this and start to take our strength, thoughts, and work too seriously.
What Is The Sabbath?
On the seventh day of creation, as described in the biblical account, God chose to rest after completing all his work. This day of rest is significant as it signifies the culmination of God’s creative acts. After engaging in six days of intense creative work, God rested, not because he was tired or in need of rejuvenation but to establish a pattern for humanity to follow.
God’s resting serves as a model for humans to prioritize rest and reflection, recognizing the importance of balancing creative work with periods of rest and rejuvenation.
The name Saturday appears to come from the word Sabbath, which may suggest that the Israelites observed the Sabbath on Saturdays. Sabbath is derived from the word Shabbath, which, as stated above, means “a day of rest.” Exodus 20:8–11 contains one of the Ten Commandments Christians find the hardest to uphold: “Keep the Sabbath Holy.”
Contrary to the other commandments, which the Bible appears to list before moving on to the next, the author (Moses) pauses here and describes the Sabbath. People are employed six days a week. Second, nobody should work on the seventh day—not your son, daughter, animals, etc. Third, as we have read in the creation account, God rested on the seventh day after creating the universe, so why can’t you? (Exodus 20:9–11).
Sundays aren’t always associated with the Holy Sabbath. Some folks might have to set aside a separate day for Sabbath rest because they work on Sundays. Even some religious movements have chosen a different Sabbath day from Sundays. For example, Seventh-day Adventist Churches observe Sabbaths from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
Why Did God Observe Sabbath?
Our everlasting God desires our faith in him. God provided the Israelites with sustenance while wandering in the desert before entering the Promised Land by creating manna, a type of bread-like substance, and quail rain from the sky (Exodus 16).
Some people didn’t listen, just like the Israelites tended to do in the Old Testament, and they ended up going hungry on the Sabbath because they didn’t gather enough the day before. God desires our faith in him. Even if we miss one day of the work week, he will still care for us.
In addition, as human beings, if we don’t sleep, we might break down. God mandated rest on the Sabbath for practical reasons. People who work nonstop will eventually get physically and mentally exhausted. Even God rests, so as his children, created in his image, we too must learn to know when to “cease” and honor a Sabbath rest.
We are not designed to work continuously. Seven-day work weeks tire our brains, impairing their ability to function creatively. We exhaust ourselves and experience increased stress to the point that we are more susceptible to sickness. When we observe the Sabbath, we avoid idolatry—working nonstop increases the likelihood that we will elevate our work above God.
Some of you may have 24/7 jobs that call for your availability every day of the week. In our society, which demands that we operate at total capacity at all times, taking a whole day off is challenging. Indeed, God created us to work. However, this neither sanctifies nor saves us. We rely on God’s blessing for these and on Jesus Christ, who will strengthen us.
A Sabbath involves focusing on time and devoting it to the Lord, knowing that he will take care of your needs and finances in other ways. It’s essential that we set aside 24 hours each week for rest, renewal, and faith that God will take care of us when our working hours can’t.