The Sabbath is called a creation ordinance and In Genesis 2 three such ordinances are mentioned: marriage, work and the Sabbath.
As we read the account of creation in Genesis 1, we should note that there are two climaxes. The first concerns the climax of the created order, which was the creation of humans; the second concerns the climax of the days of creation, which was reached with the arrival of the Sabbath. It was God’s pleasure that both should be combined in humans having the provision of the Sabbath. We could say, as far as the original week of creation was concerned, that each subsequent day was better than the day before. There is not an eighth day, which indicates that however notable and worthy the activities of the first six days were, the activities of the seventh were suited for man’s highest abilities.
At a basic level, God’s provision of the Sabbath is a reminder of two things. First, it is important that each week there should be one day that is totally different. What has happened in our society since Sunday became a ‘normal’ day is that the actions of every day become the same, and there is no variety.
Second, the existence of the Sabbath is a reminder that work is not the highest activity of man. Some people are ‘workaholics’. If we spend Sunday wishing it were Monday so that we can resume work, then we are missing out on our highest calling. Work was important in Eden, but it was not the highest activity of Adam and Eve.
One of the problems of the modern world is that many people suffer from too much stress. Stress can come from a variety of sources and I am not suggesting that all stress is avoidable. Yet much stress exists because people work too much, perhaps because they want to get more and more things. Value is assessed by what we do and what we have. But at the beginning, man received his highest value by meeting with God on a stress-free day.