“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then 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 could be very easy to begin getting into the whole “Sabbath” issue beginning with this verse. But for now I am only going to touch on it briefly and try to focus on the blessing aspect of this text.
One of the reasons is that, though God sanctified the Sabbath Day, He did not let it be known to mankind for hundreds of years! He didn’t tell Adam about it. Noah never heard of it. It was never mentioned to Abraham or Isaac or Jacob! The first time God ever mentioned the Sabbath to men or gave commands about it was in Exodus 16. The heavenly Manna was given to Israel for 6 days, and they were told that the 7th day was the Sabbath and they were not to gather on that day (Ex. 16:23-30).
So, in Nehemiah 9:13-14 we are told: “You came down on Mt. Sanai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.” So, God first made known the holy Sabbath to Jews when they were gathered in the wilderness near Mt. Sinai.
What do you think Adam did that day? I do know Adam was in communion with God, living in a perfect environment, and was probably reflecting on the greatness and majesty and goodness of God! He enjoyed fellowship with God and probably though about the wonder of himself, a creature, being able to communicate with God, the Creator!
The first Sabbath was spent in rest and worship! Worship is not for our benefit, but to honor God the almighty Creator and Redeemer, who alone is worthy of praise and glory. But the by-product of worship is that we are blessed by blessing God. So when we set aside one day in seven to stop doing our normal work and worship God, we are benefited. As Jesus said: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27).
Yet the first day of existence for Adam was a day of rest! Later, God assigned him tasks to do, but the first order of business for the newly created man was a day of rest!
Since the Sabbath wasn’t technically instituted as of yet, I want to focus on the blessing. We will be getting into the “Sabbath” controversy in much more detail later in Genesis.
So, what exactly did it mean that God “Blessed” this day? What really even is a “Blessing?”
Three times now the term “blessing” has been used. First God blessed the living creatures, then He blessed human creatures, and now He blesses this day.
In our modern culture, and especially with social media, man has warped the sense of what a blessing really is! Especially on media sites such as Twitter where the hashtag is used with the word blessed after some great happening in a person’s life: whether it be a job, a home, a car, coming into some cash, a new boyfriend or girlfriend... Saying you’re blessed can be a way of boasting while trying to sound humble.
As Christians we also use that term. We often pray that God will bless our families and our children. We thank God for the “blessings” when we feel we got something undeserved. We talk about ministries being “blessed,” or feel “blessed” when people come to know Christ.
For us believers, is the blessed life synonymous with the successful life? Is it the “Christian” version of the good life? A loving marriage, obedient children, a healthy ministry, a healthy body, a successful career, great finances...? Even if someone had all those things, would they be extraordinarily blessed?
Rather than turning to God, we might feel self-sufficient and proud. Perhaps a bit smug and self- righteous! After all, OUR hard work is yielding good fruit! Now there is no need to cry out to God for deliverance, everything is already perfect. We don’t need to trust God, we can just trust in ourselves. We are satisfied!
But what does it really mean, and how should we understand the blessing of God? After all, if these things are what being blessed means, how can that apply to the living creatures and to a “DAY?”
Earthly blessings are temporary; they can all be taken away. Job’s blessings all were ripped away in one fateful day. In my own life, I had a job that was a blessing, and one day it was gone and I had a new baby on the way. How is that a blessing? I do know that in the midst of painful events in life, I experience God’s richest blessings. I come out the other end with a stronger faith than I had experienced before. The trials in my own life grounded my faith in ways prosperity NEVER could. While my trials were probably not blessings in themselves, they were definitely channels for them.
So, tune in next week when we will take a closer look at what being blessed really means according to Scripture. Blessings to you.
Editor's Note: Every Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.