Trust, Rest, and Praise

H – Highlight

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 2:1-3 – 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

E – Explain

Genesis 1:1-2:3 is the first account of creation in Scripture. These introduce us to God who creates all things out of nothing.

Genesis 1:1 declares to us the simple fact that God created everything. Genesis 2:1-3 show us that, at a moment in time, God was finished with the work of creation and rested. We know that God did not rest from fatigue. But God made the seventh day, the day when he did not work, a special day, a holy day.

A – Apply

There are a few truths to apply here. First is that God created everything and, in doing so, proved his existence and his power. We should take confidence from the fact that the God we served created this universe. We should see that this God is our Lord, as he made us by his power and for his purposes.

The fact that God rested and called the seventh day holy should remind us that rest is good. Rest involves trusting the Lord to fulfill his purpose in creation. Rest reminds us that our constant work is not required to keep God on his throne or to see his kingdom built.

The rest on the seventh day also points us to Jesus. The author of Hebrews makes it clear that we enter into the true Sabbath rest when we place our trust, not in our work and obedience, but in Christ and his finished work. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is the natural fulfillment of the Sabbath command. This is not to say that resting a day in the week is not a good and God-honoring practice. But it is not a New Testament legal requirement.

R – Respond

I think the biggest responses for me from this text are trust, rest, and praise. God created the universe without my help. He does not need my wisdom to fix it. God rested, and he clearly designed me to trust him enough to rest too. And there is a response of praise for Jesus, as he is my Sabbath rest.

If I’m going to do this rightly, I will have to intentionally take time to rest this week in trust of the Lord, even in a chaotic and stressful time.

Prayer: Lord, I worship you, Maker of heaven and earth. You are almighty and glorious. I pray you will forgive me for the times I have forgotten to trust you, the one who is powerful enough to create the universe from nothing. I pray that you will help me to rest in Christ for my standing before you. I truly praise you and thank you for Jesus, whose finished work is my only hope. I pray that you will help me to rest physically, knowing that you do not need me to keep the universe going.

The Powerful Principle of Ownership

In Genesis 1:1, we find in the word of god that, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Later, in verse 27, we discover that the Lord created humanity in his image. God, by his will, by his power, for his glory, made all that is out of nothing. God borrowed nobody’s material. God used nobody’s ingenuity, insight, or power.

One of the principles that we ought to take from this truth is the fact that all creation belongs to the Lord. If you make it, it is yours. You may use it as you wish. No one has the right to take it from you. No one has the right to do with it something beyond your design.

This concept has powerful implications for our understanding of our own lives. God made us. We are his. All that we possess is actually not ours. All that is ours is a loan from God. We are, at best, stewards of the Lord’s property. This is true with our money. This is true with our time. It is true with our thoughts, and it is true with our bodies.

Greg Koukl wrote about this principle in chapter 6 of his book, The Story of Reality, and I found his words helpful:

The basic principle is a commonsense one: If you make it, it’s yours. When someone invests labor and personal creativity to fashion something of value, then that valuable thing belongs to them and should not be taken from them. The way the Story puts it is this: It’s wrong to steal. It’s wrong to take something that is not yours. The concept of private property, then, is an important one in the Story; otherwise the command not to steal would make no sense.
Since God made everything out of nothing, it all belongs to him. He has proper authority to rule over all because none of it would exist without him. That includes you and me, by the way. We don’t own ourselves—God does. Let that sink in too. When we claim absolute ownership over anything without the understanding that God holds the ultimate title, it’s very much like stealing.

Here is why this last point is so important. Nowadays, when certain ethical issues come up, it’s common to hear someone say, “I have a right to do whatever I want with my own body.” It’s a popular point, but it isn’t quite accurate, is it? First, no one can do whatever he wants with his own body, not in a civilized society anyway. Second, if God made us, then our bodies are not our own, strictly speaking. We inhabit them, of course, and have an important connection with them. But if God is God, then we are not completely free to do as we wish with our bodies. In the end, the Potter has the right over his own clay.*

Christians, may we remember the truth of God’s ultimate and total ownership of all that exists. We do not have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies. We do not have the right to think however we want. We are the creation of the Lord. For us to take ourselves to a place outside of his design is for us to attempt to steal from the almighty God who made us.

* Koukl, Gregory, The Story of Reality (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2017), Chapter 6.

Two Simple Truths We Need to Believe

There are some things that, when you truly believe them, change your life. There are some verses of the Bible that I recognize, when I read them, that I need to receive their truths down into the depths of my very soul. Today’s reading in the word of God brought me two such verses.

Genesis 1:1 — In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Acts 1:9-11 – 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

In Genesis 1:1, we see the biblical claim that God created the universe. What you and I believe about this verse changes everything about how we view the world. Either this world is created by God with purpose and order and beauty and a goal, or it is not. If this universe is not created by God, it is nothing but randomness, chaos, meaninglessness, and futility. If the universe is created by God in the beginning, then God exists before the beginning. If the universe is created by God, it is his property to direct and do with as he pleases.

Friends, we live in a universe that the Lord created. The air you breathe and the earth you walk upon are on loan to you from the Creator. You own nothing. He owns everything. The reason you exist is simply that the Creator wills you exist. Your life’s purpose is bound up in the Creator. Your hope for eternity is found in the one who set the stars on their courses.

In Acts 1, we see the picture of Jesus returning, alive, to heaven. Then, as the men marveled at that sight, angels came and told them that Jesus, the very same Jesus, the living Jesus, Jesus the Son of Almighty God, will return to earth in just the same way that he left it. And this too changes everything about our worldview.

Friends, Jesus is alive. Right now, today, at the beginning of 2020, Jesus is alive. And Jesus promises to return. The world in which we live has a limited amount of time ahead of it before the Savior comes back. Life will not go on forever as things are now. Christ will again break into human history. Christ will descend back to earth. Christ will make right what mankind has made wrong. Christ rules and will rule forever.

What changes in you when you recall that Jesus is alive now and is returning? So many things that seem vital to you become insignificant. Little slights and insults that feel like major mountains become as nothing in the light of eternity and the Savior’s return. Real hurts, big pains, hard struggles dim and soften in the light of the eternity ahead of us. We can rest in the fact that Christ will do justice and set all things right. We can rest in the fact that the church will survive and grow to the end of the age. We can face persecution with the knowledge that the ultimate outcome of all things is already determined.

As the new year begins, Christians, take these two truths to heart—truths that many of you read on your first day of daily Bible-in-a-year reading. God created this world. It is his. You are his. Jesus is alive and is returning. You have hope and an eternity of joy in front of you if you are under his grace. Let these truths impact how you see everything, absolutely everything.