Why did God rest on the Sabbath?

While the Bible tells us God “rested” on the Sabbath day, it doesn’t say that He rested because He was tired. (God does not “faint or grow weary”, as Isaiah 40:28, ESV tells us.) He rested to look over what He created and enjoy it.  

Let’s look at the root word for Sabbath. The word “sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word shabbat, which means “to cease” or stop.

Even in our human lives, it’s not uncommon to stop and take a day off after a large project or a great accomplishment. Yes, we do get tired, unlike God. But after finishing something meaningful and beautiful, we don’t stop afterwards just to rest. We stop to reflect upon and enjoy what was just accomplished!

On the Sabbath day, we rest to celebrate God’s accomplishment of creating the world and creating humanity to live in it and take care of it. We pause to take notice, learn more, and express gratitude to our Creator.

When God rested on the seventh day, He set for us an example. He gave the weekly Sabbath as a day of rest and worship for all of mankind. The Sabbath is a memorial, a day when we remember God’s creative power. 

He alone is worthy of our worship, as beautifully described by Ellen White, one of the founders of the Adventist Church:

“Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,”’—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love.”