Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

July 31, 2016
“God's Miniature" No.2 by Rev. Toru Asai
Gen 1-2, Ezek 20, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

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God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day (Gen 1:31).

Thus, everything in heaven and earth was created in the first six days, and "it was very good!"

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array (army). By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work (2:1-2).

Here, it is interesting that the Bible calls all the created things as "all their vast array (lit. army)," which is led by the commander-in-chief—God himself. And humans are positioned below him as commanders of the earth. Thus, we are his miniatures. Since God rested on the seventh day and made it holy, we too work in the first six days, and rest on the seventh day, and make it holy. Although this came to be given as the Sabbath law to the people of Israel, it is the most fundamental principle upon which all the created things exist, and is equivalent to the principle concerning the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the stories of chapters 2 and 3.

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (v. 3).

There are two crucial verbs that are associated with the Sabbath law: barak and giddash. Barak means to bless both as God blesses people, and as people bless God. Qiddash means to set apart for God's purpose; hence, to sanctify, to make holy. God separated the seventh day by resting on it, and it was for God's own purpose; thus the day became holy. And we are also to make it holy by setting apart from the rest of the week for him so that he can make us holy.

Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy (Ezek 20:12).

As God makes us holy, we live and exist as his treasured possession, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and a people belonging to him. And its purpose is both for God to bless us, and for us to bless him. If someone does a very good job, people want to thank him and commend him for the work he has done. In the same way, God created the heavens and the earth so wonderfully, and rested on that day. Now, it is our turn to thank him and praise him for the work he has done. God requires and demands it. We humans, representing all the created things on earth, are to lead all the earth to praise him in worship (Ps 66:1, 96:1, etc.). This is the essence of the Sabbath law, and the principle came to be written as a law and given to the people of Israel through Moses.

Therefore, breaking the Sabbath law means denying God as the Creator of heaven and earth, and it is the same thing as idolatry—idol making and worship.

Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert. I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them (vv. 10-11).

It is important to keep in mind that these two laws—keeping the Sabbaths and worshipping God as the Creator—are not only given to the people of Israel, but also to all peoples. They are the most fundamental principles upon which we the creatures exist. This is the reason why only these two laws are mentioned in Ezekiel chapter 20 where God accuses the people of Israel of not keeping the Law.

Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the desert that I would not bring them into the land I had given them--a land flowing with milk and honey, most beautiful of all lands—because they rejected my laws and did not follow my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols (vv. 15-16).

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