Flowers (Matthew 12:8)

Photo by Free Steph on Unsplash

The creation account in the book of Genesis tells us the order in which God   made all things. First was light and the concept of day and night. Then the sky, then land, then vegetation, then stars, then fish and birds, then all manner of land creatures, and finally, man. At that point God gives man sovereignty over the land, fish, birds and land creatures and seed-bearing plants and trees. Then God rests. 

From that order we can know that while man doesn’t create anything, we yet have sovereignty over almost all of creation. Not all of it, because we were not given light, nor water, nor sun or moon, nor stars. Complete mastery of those things is beyond us. But mastery of the land is not beyond us. That we can control. We can shape the land as we desire, and people do. Farmers clear the land of trees and rocks and enslave it to their own uses. Landscapers do, and likewise builders of cities, dams and golf courses. We use the land as we desire, and where we desire, we reshape it to our use. We can even mine the land and burrow through solid rock.

Likewise, we were given rulership over animals. So people use them for clothing, food and pets. We can even enslave them in zoos as we desire, or pen them into ‘wildlife perserves’ that they can only escape under penalty of imminent death. They – and insects, plants and trees – are helpless to rule over us. Such is the impact of God’s spoken word assigning rule as He purposes. 

But God’s order is another matter. While we can rule over creation, we are not creators – merely rulers. We are given rulership of that which came before us so that the world might thrive under us. Creation is made for God’s great glory and therefore is not here merely for our selfish use. In fact, our foolishness about the matter is incurring God’s wrath. To this point one day the prophet foretells, “..Your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (italics mine) 

Rulership comes with responsibility. Also with the one thing that was made AFTER us, which we can know was made for us, not merely given to us. The Gospel of Mark gives us more detail than Matthew does, reporting of Jesus, “Then he said to [the Pharisees], “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  Matthew only documents Jesus using a single sentence, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” This is sufficient to know that the Sabbath was made for us, not the other way around. 

That doesn’t mean we can ignore the principle for which God made the Sabbath. It does mean that our Lord and King is also Lord and King of that which was made for us. Therefore, what we chose to use the Sabbath for either directly honors Jesus Christ who made us, or it does not. We need to choose wisely!

A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.

Henry Ward Beecher

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Is God honoured through your use of the hours He gives you?