And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Genesis 2:2, 3.
The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty, and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had been accomplished. And God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made….” God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory.
After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker….
God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God, and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath, to remind him more vividly of God, and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator.
When the foundations of the earth were laid, … then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath. Well may this institution demand our reverence: it was ordained by no human authority, and rests upon no human traditions; it was established by the Ancient of days, and commanded by His eternal word.
The Faith I Live By p. 31
—–I need God’s guidance. E
Knowing that I had always wanted to learn to play the piano, at the time of my 14th birthday, my mother told me that she had enough money saved to buy me a piano or to pay for lessons, but she could not afford both. She worked very hard for long hours and even then, we had almost nothing. So this present was extra special. I didn’t have to think very long. I responded, “If I choose the lessons, I’ll have nothing to practice on and they’ll do me no good. I choose the piano.”
My grandmother let me have a hymnal that she never used. My mother showed me where middle C was on the keyboard and on the music. From what I had learned in music class in school, in a couple of months, I could play Rock of Ages and a few other songs. God blessed and in a couple of more months, I could play any song in that hymn book. There was so much about music that I didn’t even begin to realize, but that didn’t bother me. I just loved playing. My grandmother gave me her old sheet music, and I began a collection of popular music from the 1860’s through the 1920’s.
A couple of years later, I started going to church. At first when they asked me to play in the youth division, I would literally get sick to my stomach I was so afraid. I felt very unsure of myself. And I should have felt that way: I knew so little. By the time I was 18, I was asked to play for a special meeting they were having. I began to feel a little proud. I walked up to the piano and began to play “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I was doing fairly well, when suddenly a puff of wind blew the pages of my song book and I was looking at a completely different song. I didn’t know what to do. I sort of knew the tune and tried to pick it out with my right hand while fumbling through the book with my left hand, trying desperately to find the right page. I was totally humiliated.
After what seemed like an eternity, my friend Laurel brought up another hymnal that she had opened to the right page. She pointed to the right place in the music; and I began to play as if nothing had ever happened. She took other hymnals and propped the book open so I would not lose my place again. It was all very embarrassing, but it was very good for me. That pride that I had begun to enjoy, had completely vanished. Over the years, I have had many more embarrassments that have not allowed it to return.
Jesus taught many times, “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt 23:12 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Many times Jesus helped His disciples understand this principle. It was a hard lesson for them to learn. Their whole focus was on being the greatest and having the highest place in the kingdom that they were sure that Jesus was about to establish. “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.” Mark 9:33-37
We have so little to be proud of. James says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14 Peter agrees, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:24,25
Praise God that “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities….Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” Ps 103:10-13
Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Rom 12:1-3
May we not allow pride to fill us with self importance. May we remember to stay close to our Dear Saviour Who is our only strength, our Only Helper. May we look away from self and focus on the One Who loves us so.