Sundays – First Service 8:45a | Formation Hour 10:10a | Second Service 11:15a


Sabbath Teaches Delight in Creation

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. God creates for six days, and then it is finished. At the completion of His work, He looks at what He has created and judges that it is “very good!” Now He spends time enjoying the space He has created. When the 10 Words are given to the children of Israel, He invites them into His pattern of rest and remembering. (Exodus 20:8-11)

God’s creation

In the Exodus 20, we see that the Sabbath command is a patterning or remembering of the creation story. The children of Israel look back and rejoice just as God looked back and rejoiced. Just as He declares, “Very Good!” So they join in praising the work of His hands as “Very Good!”

Man’s creation

On a smaller scale, they can also look back and praise the work of their hands as “Very Good!” For six days we labor, but on the Sabbath we offer a two-fold thanksgiving, one to God for His creation, and another to God for His blessing upon the work of our hands.

By paralleling Israel’s six days of work with God’s six days of work, we see a glimpse into man as image of God. God creates a world of wonders. Man also create everything from skyscrapers to smartphones to socks.

In the Deuteronomy Sabbath command, Israel is reminded that God redeemed them from slavery. We normally call this the redemption story.

The creation story and the redemption story are two central stories that weave through every other story in the Bible. When Israel takes a day to rest, they remember. Not simply in thought but in word, in sermon, in ritual. They rehearse the story of God’s creating and redeeming action again and again. The story enters their hands, their feet, their mind, their whole body, their whole body.

God’s redeeming action

These two stories or two songs that overlap, contrast and resolve again and again in the text. In the interplay between the two stories, I see wisdom about understanding more about the nature of our creation. God created a wonderful world and called it, “Very Good!” In His mercy and grace, he recreates this world spoiled by evil.

Man’s redeeming action

Humans create, but their creation is also ‘’subject to deterioration and even extinction but that should never stop us from creating. We rejoice in the gift God has given us, and we offer it back to Him in worship. Though it crumble and fail, we learn from His pattern of making all things new.

There are many new creation stories in Scripture. After the flood, we see a new creation story. The call of Abraham is a new creation story. The birth of Isaac is a new creation story. And on and on and on.

The focal new creation story will be the story of a family who became a enslaved, losing their name and status and wealth. At the edge of extinction, God calls them out of Egypt and re-creates them. He gives them a name, a land, and a Law. By His grace, they become a great and might people. And yet, this nation rebels against the Law, is cast out of the land, loses their and their identity.

From the place of darkness and exile, God calls them yet again. He re-creates them. So how might I understand Sabbath in light of this story? It is a day of rest and re-creation (recreation). In celebrating the creative work of God, I am being recreated myself.

As a reminder, on Sabbath I am reminded of two stories: creation and re-creation. If I penetrate the story of creation, it becomes obvious that man is created as small “c” creator. So how might the Spirit of God teach me to rest and remember, celebrating the stories of God and man’s creative and re-creative works?

  1. Human creativity should be celebrated in my life, my family, and my business. I should take time to rest and remember the great blessing of those in my world.
  2. Creation is messy. Right after God says “Very Good” and enjoys Sabbath, He encounters Adam’s sin and rebellion. On Sabbath, I pause and rejoice and celebrate every type of creation (person, family, art, business, idea) even though I know it is messy and may not turn out how I expect.
  3. Everything I/we create is subject to deterioration and extinction. I savor and rejoice in it, giving God glory, and yet I do not hide from the fact that it will falter and fade. When I cook a meal for others, they can rest and enjoy the fruit of the meal, but there is still a mess to clean up.
  4. Discarded and destroyed creations can be re-created. Just because a person, a place, a business or even an idea has been cast aside, does not mean that it is worthless. It can be called back into being. It can become a new creation.

Sabbath is a marker in time, reminding me that matter matters. People and things and nations and  ideas all matter. I rejoice in them, yet remain ever aware of the challenges. This makes me think of Paul’s stunning passage in Roman’s eight when creation groans, humans groan and the Holy Spirit groans. In the midst of suffering, we groan for the glory that is to come (Romans 8:18-30).