God Works on the Sabbath

Ricardo Bacchus, CQ Editorial Assistant

On that first Sabbath, God ceased from His labor, but He didn’t cease from His abundant love for us.

The creation week ended with a bang! The Sabbath! A day of rest! But who did the “resting”?

On the seventh day, did God really rest? How could He have? If He truly rested, His love and care for His creation took a day off as well. If He rested from our physical and spiritual needs, the greenery, tulips, salmon, and hippos wouldn’t have been alive to receive His Sabbath. The sun wouldn’t have risen, the hummingbirds wouldn’t have hummed, and Adam wouldn’t have had the energy to say “I love you” to his wife. There would have been no life.

Yes, God’s creation of the earth ceased after six days, but the Sabbath day was the “cat’s meow,” the day “created” to celebrate His goodness toward us. If, when the seventh day rolled around, and His almighty power had been sapped, the world’s light switch would’ve returned everything to its black existence prior to creation. Thus, His “work” continued. God never sleeps (Ps. 121:4), nor does He blink. If He would’ve blinked, the world would’ve ended right then and there.

On the Sabbath day, God took what He made during the previous six days, and presented it to us on a platter of praise: light for us to see, water for us to drink, land so we wouldn’t drown, food for us to devour, animals for us to ride. Love, blessings, protection, peace, all piled up on one platter called the Sabbath. God worked on that precious day so that WE were the ones who could rest and worship Him.

Adam and Eve’s first full day in the Garden of Eden was the Sabbath. Imagine that. For them it was only the second day. They had to trust in God that it was indeed the seventh day. Therefore God was working in their hearts and minds from the very start, including the Sabbath, so that our first parents would know and understand the true meaning of “the day of rest.” Although sinless, they were still in need of spiritual revival, which they received, and only God could be the one who worked to provide this spiritual connection.

If you happen to be married with kids, and feed them only six days a week because you “rested” on the seventh, they would starve to death. Rest doesn’t mean lack of provision. God provides for our every need, whether it’s the third day or the seventh day.

“God has not ceased to work on the Sabbath. He makes the sun to rise; He rolls the stars; He causes the grass, the tree, the flower to grow. He has not suspended His operations on the Sabbath, and the obligation to ‘rest’ on the Sabbath does not extend to Him. He created the world in six days, and ceased the work of creation; but He has not ceased to govern it, and to carry forward, by His providence, His great plans on the Sabbath.”*

On that first Sabbath, God ceased from His labor, but He didn’t cease from His abundant love for us. On the seventh day, He continued to provide for the world’s every need. Today, on any given Sabbath, when we come to Him with our prayer requests, He is still capable of doing “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20, NIV).

When Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, His decision to heal on the Sabbath was questioned by the Jewish leaders. His response was simply, “ ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working’ ” (John 5:17, NIV).

God tells us to “come to me, all you who are weary burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28, NIV). God gives us provision as a result of His almighty work on all seven days of the week. From creation to salvation, and from salvation to the new creation, His work on our behalf will never cease. 
* “Barnes’ Notes on the Bible,” http://bible.cc/john/5-17.htm  (accessed March 27, 2013).