January 5 I Thursday

Genesis 13-15

Matthew 5:1-26



“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.”    —Genesis 2:2-3


Do we have trouble finding rest sometimes? The principle of rest is a biblical one right from the beginning in creation. Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God was active and busy creating. The creation account continues with “God said… God called…”; “God said… God made… God set… God saw…”; and “God created…God saw… God blessed…” This was God throughout six days of creation, but Genesis 2:2 takes a turn: “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.”

       On the seventh day, God rested not because He was tired after six days of hard creating, but He rested because He was finished. The first human, Adam, was created on the sixth day, so his first day was a day of rest. Adam was to enter into everything God had done and rest in the sufficiency of what God had accomplished and finished. This is the principle of God’s rest in creation; it is also the principle of God’s rest in redemption.

       However, between creation and redemption, we have the whole tragedy of the fall. When Adam and Eve fell in disobedience, God placed a curse on Adam, Eve and Satan. To Adam, God said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Life was no longer about resting in the outworking of what God has done, but living by hard work.

       In the New Testament, Hebrews 4:9-11 tells us, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” For Adam, this rest was physical, but for us, it is spiritual. Hence, if we do not know the rest in redemption, then we will live by the sweat of our brow, trying our best and hardest to live for Jesus. If we go ahead and try to live for Christ by our own power, we will burn out in due course and start to drift. The problem is not that we do not have everything we need in Christ; rather, we do not know that we have everything in Christ.

       May we find rest from our own work in the finished work that God has done.

Prayer: Dear Jesus Christ, thank You for all that You have done. Teach me to cease striving by my own ability and help me to find rest in Your finished work. Amen!

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