Our Grounds for Worshiping God (Gen. 2:1–3)
In what sense was God’s work finished? What is the meaning of the word work in verse 2? How is the creation the basis of the Fourth Commandment? Why is it important to live within the cycles of life?
2:1–3: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
The creation was finished on the sixth day. “God’s creative activity is described twice as his work. The OT has two words for ‘labor,’ melaka and aboda. The second word emphasizes labor that is raw and unskilled. The first—and the one used here—designates skilled labor, work that is performed by a craftsman or an artisan.”
God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. God’s six days of creative work followed by a day of rest became the basis for the Fourth Commandment (see Ex. 20:9–11). The commandment includes work and rest. God is a worker, and He expects humans to work; however, God set the pattern of six days of work and one day for rest. This is one of the key cycles of life. We live as God intended when we respect and follow the God-given cycles of life. In this important cycle some break the cycle by not working; others break it by working all the time. These workaholics often expect others to do the same. One purpose of the commandment was to break the tyranny of ceaseless toil. Notice that the commandment applies to family members, servants, and even farm animals. When this one-in-seven cycle is ignored, the results are bad.
One purpose of setting aside one day is that it provides an opportunity for worshiping God. Setting aside one day of seven is a way of saying that all days belong to God. Those who use the day to do only earthly things miss the basic human need for worshiping our Creator and Redeemer and ignore that we are created in God’s image. Life is a gift from God, and we need to thank Him and be good stewards of this and other precious gifts. Being good stewards includes sharing with those in need from the provision God gives us.
What are the lasting truths in Genesis 2:1–3?
The cycle of God’s work and rest provides a key cycle for us.
- God works and He expects us to work.
- God rested and He expects us to rest.
- We show that all our days belong to God by worshiping Him on His special day.