Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"His Rest" Part 2

   "It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed" (Exodus 31:17). was refreshed.
    For years, I believed and communicated to others that God rested on the seventh day simply because His creative work was finished and no further activity on His part was necessary.  I reasoned that an omnipotent being could not become weary or exhausted regardless of how vast a universe He might create.
    "Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" (Isaiah 40:28).
    It is correct to surmise that the act of creation could not tire the Creator in any sense of physical exertion.  He merely spoke, and all things came into existence.  However, the Bible declares that "He rested, and was refreshed."  This raises the obvious question, "How could an all-powerful being who "fainteth not, neither is weary" experience refreshing?
    The answer that seems most satisfying to me involves the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).  In full knowledge that the creation of the world and humanity would lead to the suffering, sorrow, and forsakenness of His beloved Son on the cross of Calvary, God nevertheless created.  It is not difficult or Biblically inappropriate to consider that such an act of His part, while in perfect accordance with His character and purpose, would involve great emotion in our Lord's heart.  Creation would lead to the necessity of redemption at the highest and most terrible cost to His Son.  Perhaps the seventh day of rest involved an emotional "refreshing" after so great an act of loving self sacrifice, the act of creation.
    If so, "His rest" takes on new meaning and significance (Hebrews 4:10).  We see in greater measure the love of God that not only sacrificed in the specific act of redemption.  Our very creation cost Him something.  Indeed, let us recall that Calvary involved not only the physical and emotional pain of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also His smiting and forsaking by the Father who eternally loves Him.  "He was made to be sin for us" on the cross, and suffered the terrible wrath of God rather than the favor He had always known (II Corinthians 5:21).  There is no possibility we will ever know the agony that occurred in the triune God when, for our sakes, a breach took place in the perfect bond of Divine love.  "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).
    Our response must be grateful praise, adoration, and the desire to increase in love for the Lord who so loves us.  We also must seek to grow in the experience of His rest.  The suffering of the Lamb of God made salvation and subsequent relationship to God a free gift to be received by faith rather than an attainment to be earned by works (Romans 4:1-5).  We live from this rest, that is, we determine that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was so perfectly atoning that we do nothing - and can do nothing - to originate or maintain the relationship.  Our works are rather the product of love, the love of God "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).  Affection, devotion, commitment, and the willingness for self sacrifice flow from increasing awareness of our Lord's willingness to suffer in the acts of both creation and redemption, leading to the dynamic means by which our relating to God is ever the fruit of His relating to us...
"We love Him because He first loved us."
(I John 4:19)

No comments: