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Have a restful weekend

Every Saturday we are pointed to the first ever Saturday – the day which God rested (Genesis 2v1-3). It not that he stopped working altogether, John 5:17 makes that clear. It means He ceased from creating. And man even as he worked in God’s good creation entered into that rest. True rest is that of enjoying God as we enjoy his creation in the way it was intended – it’s called worship!

In Gen 2:4-24 we see this rest experienced in relationships: There were no barriers between God, man and woman. They could walk, talk, and just be together. Man and Woman, enjoyed marital bliss, there were no disagreements. Man and Creation worked in harmony so that the earth brought forth its fruit. All was as God had intended it.

But in Genesis 3 we learn that this was ruined by man’s disobedience. One of the consequences was that these relationships were distorted and the rest was interrupted. We do not now ever enjoy rest as it should be – in fact it is hard to describe life as restful at all. Yet this rest as described in Genesis 2 is still God’s purpose for us and in fact it is where the world is heading, to a time when such rest will be restored in the new creation.

But there is hope.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” It is through Jesus’ death and resurrection and by trusting and obeying him that we find this rest once more. A rest from working for our own ‘salvation’ however we define it. A rest from working with no purpose or meaning. I am now invited back into the restored Garden of Eden, to ultimately enjoy God by enjoying His creation.

I fully enter into the rest upon my death or Jesus’ return but I can experience something of that rest now as well. I can experience it by taking time off from my work to worship God. I can enjoy this rest each and every day. In the midst of busyness I can pause and pray turning to my heavenly Father and enjoying His rest or in the morning or my lunch break I read a few verses from scripture and pray. As we do these things, we begin to enjoy Him and we find ourselves being refreshed, restored because this is what we have been made for. We need to be seeking Him, the giver of true rest. But I can also enjoy this rest when I meet up with friends, spend time with my family. Or by pausing to listen to the birds sing and thus enjoy God’s creation. As I do these things I will find His rest, because this was His purpose for us as seen in Genesis 2.

Yet even by doing these things we only partially experience His rest now. But one day, we will live with Him for eternity, able to enjoy Him fully once more, enjoying all that He has recreated and restored. That is the wonderful picture of Revelation 21v3-4, for that describes the rest once more, the rest as it was intended in Genesis 2, the rest we have been made to enjoy.

Make sure you are invited to that greatest of all happy weekends.

Written by Graham Nicholls

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