Genesis 1:26-2:3

Countless pages have been written through the centuries about the image of God–imago dei–in humanity. What does it mean? Why does it matter? How should we live as people created in God’s image? It’s a subject as inexhaustible as the God whose image we bear. I don’t know what the character limit is on this blog post. It may or may not be sufficient to contain all that we could collectively write today about what it means to be created in the image of God, but I know it isn’t sufficient to contain all that it means to be created in the image of God. We would run out of both understanding and strength long before the work of describing the imago dei is finished, but the God in whose image we’re made is never short on either of those things. He possesses perfect understanding and unfailing strength, and yet, we read in Genesis 2 that God rested from all his work.

Why? Why would a God with perfect understanding and unfailing strength need to rest? That’s my question, but in this case, my question reveals my lack of understanding. God didn’t need to rest because He was tired. He never tires. And God’s rest didn’t prevent Him from accomplishing something that He needed to accomplish. His work in creation was finished. So, God didn’t need to rest in the same way that we do when our strength is failing, but still, He rested. He rested on the seventh day, and He blessed it and made it holy. God rested to set a pattern and a priority. God would later reveal that the Israelites should follow this pattern of work followed by rest, setting apart the seventh day as holy, a day where worshipping God is the only priority.

God reveals a pattern of rest so that we can understand His priority for us–a right relationship with Him. That’s the invitation of Genesis and of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30, “[28] Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” I certainly haven’t said here everything there is to say about what it means to be created in the image of God. And yet, I know Jesus can offer rest to our weary souls today, not because our work is finished, but because His work is finished. Let’s go to Him today with all our burdens and our never-finished to-do lists, and let’s learn from Him what it means to be created in the image of God.

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