It was nearly the end of the sixth day. God stood with Adam and Eve, looking with pleasure at His six-day work of Creation. He had formed our earth and created light. He had made the earth habitable with land and sea. Then He decorated the land with grass and trees and flowers and fruit. Now on this day He had created the animals and His masterpieces, Adam and Eve. It was good, very good.
As He talked with His newly created children, He loved them with the love of a Father and felt excited as He thought of the special gift He was about to create for them. It was a gift of time, the seventh day, the Sabbath. When the sun set every sixth day, they would have another wonderful 24-hour Sabbath. It would continue for all eternity—a perpetual memorial of His creation, for them and their descendants, us. Talking with God there in that fresh new world, Adam and Eve saw their first glorious sunset and God explained about night and sleep with a beautiful sunrise in the morning. Then days that would continue in eternal happiness if . . .
God promised to meet Adam and Eve in the morning, so they could walk and talk and rest together on the first Sabbath day. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11). Each Sabbath day God would come and explore this newly created world with them, to enjoy together the beauty of this perfect garden home. The animals and birds would become their friends, for there was nothing to hurt or destroy. They could live here forever if . . .
God had to tell Adam and Eve about His enemy, who wanted to destroy them. They’d be safe if they obeyed God’s requirement not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Obey or disobey—their choice. God gave them choice because He wanted friends, not robots, beings who could return His love for them. It was just one tree. All the rest of the fruit in this wonderful garden was theirs.
We don’t know how many perfect Sabbaths Adam and Eve enjoyed in paradise with God. But one day Eve wandered near the forbidden tree. A voice said, “Did God say you can’t eat this fruit? He just doesn’t want you to be like Him.” Eve saw the beautiful serpent, wondered how it could speak, but did not realise it was being used by the enemy she had been warned about. Deceived she ate the fruit, gave some to Adam and he ate too. Sin and death had entered this beautiful world. Adam and Eve had to leave their perfect garden, but with sin there also came the promise of a Saviour. Although they had entered a world of hardship, they were able to take with them their special gift of rest and fellowship with God (without face to face communion). How they needed it now.
Fast forward through time. The Sabbath continued—preserved by faithful Noah and kept by Abraham’s line until it was almost lost with Israel’s slavery in Egypt. God had thundered its importance from Sinai, enshrined in His Ten Commandment law and demonstrated how it should be honoured, supplying two days portion of manna on Friday morning and none on Sabbath, so His people did not need to work.
Sabbath’s protection was entrusted to the Jewish nation. Jesus Himself honoured and kept it—even in death. Since then there have always been a remnant of God’s people who cherished this Sabbath gift—willing to die rather than relinquish it.
Would we too be prepared to give our lives rather than disobey God’s commandments? God’s enemy will try to deceive us, as he did Eve, with a counterfeit day of rest—
Sunday. We must hold on to our gift of love from God and not honour Satan’s day by resting on it, as we rest on God’s Sabbath. We still have free choice as in Eden—obey or disobey—life or death. This is earth’s final test, just before Jesus returns in all His glory to take His faithful people to heaven.
Let’s change the scene again. Now we see the earth made new, pristine and beautiful as when God looked over His six days of work so long ago. But this wonderful place is populated by happy, blood-bought people—building houses no war or greed will take from them and planting gardens to enjoy forever. Children play with lions and lambs in perfect safety.
God can hardly wait to again share with us the seventh-day Sabbath, His perfect gift now and for all eternity. And it will be good, very good.
Edith Sullivan Retired nurse from Dareton church, Vic.