On the seventh day God rested from all the work he had done. — Genesis 2:2
All the times I’ve read this ending to the first creation story, I never asked myself a very logical question.
If God is almighty, all-powerful, omnipotent, omniscient…etc….then WHY DID GOD NEED TO REST? After all, the psalmist knew this when he wrote, , “Israel’s protector never sleeps or rests!” (Psalm 121:4).
The classic answer is that God is giving us a model, because we mere mortals really do need to rest or we’ll go crazy. Yet, that’s reading a bit into the text. It simply says that the Lord God kicked back and did nothing.
It’s helpful to look more closely at that word “rested.” The Hebrew for that word is sabbat, which is where we get the word Sabbath. But it doesn’t literally mean to rest. It simply means to stop what you’re doing. So, the verse could go, “On the seventh day God stopped working.”
I bet I know why. In this old tale, or parable, of creation, God has blessed everything with, “It’s good!” On the final day, after animals and humans were created, God blessed all that had been accomplished with, “It’s supremely good!”
So why did the Creator stop on the seventh day? Why, of course, it was to go back and visit all that goodness, from galaxies to cardinals to puffer fish to waterfalls to…[fill in several blanks].
Granted, this is also reading a bit into the text, but I like to imagine it happening. Like I imagine it being a model for us. Every so often we just have to sabbat. Enough with the worries and the depressing news. We have to take time and intentionally look at what–and who–is good around us.
God may have done such looking around because he wanted to. We should too. But we also, definitely, need to.