Scripture Reference: Genesis 1:1 and 2:1-3
Suggested Emphasis or Theme: After creating the world God rested. He wants us to also take time to rest and consider what he has done.
Memory Verse: For anyone who enters and has God’s rest will rest from his work as God did. Hebrews 4:10, ICB
After spending six days creating the world God considered the seventh day a special day to rest. God did not rest because He was tired. God does not become exhausted or run out of energy. God’s work of creation was perfect and the seventh day was a day to reflect on what he had completed. God also wants us to take time to rest and consider the work he has done and how he takes care of us.
At the conclusion of a court trial, when all the evidence has been presented and nothing more can be added to change the verdict, a lawyer says, “I rest my case.” At the end of each day of creation, God noted that what he had created was good. Now, on this seventh day, all had been created. All was good. The creation speaks for itself. Nothing to add or take away. God “rested his case.”
Have you been on the go constantly one day and not had even a moment to rest? When nightfall comes, you are extremely tired but quite pleased with yourself. A feeling of satisfaction descends upon you as you realise how much you accomplished that day. As you lie in bed, a deep and restful sleep almost instantly settles over you. You awake the next morning, realizing that was the best rest you ever have had. Why? Wonderful peace and oneness had settled over your being. You had truly rested.
Can you imagine how God must have felt after six days of creating the heavens, the earth and all the inhabitants? We know that the Lord never tires (Isaiah 40:28). We know from Genesis 1:31 that when God looked over His work, He was very pleased. God blessed the seventh day of Creation because He had completed His work. God must have had a wonderful rest as He reflected upon His accomplishments.
Our bodies need physical rest. Our Lord provides spiritual rest, too.
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads. I will give you rest. Accept my work and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will find rest for your souls. The work that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is not heavy.” Matthew 11:28-31 (ICB)
In our fast-paced world, we often forget to take the time to stop and reflect. Sometimes we even need to be told by others that it is time to rest. We may need physical rest, but we also need to take time to relax and re-focus. Resting and remembering God is the centre of our life is the kind of rest that brings us closer to him. It also prepares us to help others.
Help children learn this skill. Today’s lesson does not need to be fast-paced. Speak calmly and pause often. Have the children close their eyes while you play calm music, read from the Bible or just quietly talk about some of the beautiful things God has created.
What else does the Bible have to say about rest?
- God does not become weary or run out of energy. Isaiah 40:28-29
- God rested, knowing the creation itself would point people to him. Psalm 19:1-4
- God later commanded his people to remember this seventh day as a day of rest. Exodus 20:8-11
- As our shepherd, God provides safety, peace and rest. Psalm 23:1-2
- Jesus invites us to come to him for rest. Matthew 11:28-29
- A Psalm of reflection on God’s creation…Psalm 148:7-13
Way to Introduce the Story:
Display an assorted collection of items relating to sleep. This may be a pillow, blanket, night light or stuffed animal. Perhaps you might even wear some pyjamas yourself. Lead the children in talking about what it is like when we rest. Sometimes we want to rest and sometimes we don’t. In today’s story, we are going to learn about a special kind of rest. In fact, it is a rest that even God takes. It is a holy and special rest.
In the beginning, before there was anything, there was nothing. Nothing. No sky. No sea. No trees. No animals and not even any people.
If you turn to the beginning of your Bible,, the first book is Genesis. The very first verse of the Bible’s very first book talks about the world’s beginning.
This is the first thing written in your Bible. “In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth.” That is in Genesis chapter one and verse one.
And that began the first week. Each day in the first week of creation was filled with amazing things. Let’s talk about those.
Before the beginning of our world, there was nothing, but God created light on the first day of creation. Before that, there was not even light.
On the second day of creation, God separated water into two parts. The water below was the sea, and the small particles of water above made up what we know as air (or sky or atmosphere).
And then, on the third day of creation, God caused dry land to rise up out of the water. And now, God created all kinds of plants since there was dirt. Now there were all sorts of bushes, trees and vines. The world was becoming a beautiful and lush garden. It was called “the Garden of Eden”.
On the 4th day of creation, it was time to look up. In the day sky, God placed the sun. In the night sky, he placed the moon and the stars. For the rest of the time, everyone could see the beauty of God’s creation.
On the fifth day, God looked down at the sea and placed fish and every creature swimming in the water. There were all sorts of fish, big fish, little fish and fish of all colours.
And God filled the sky with all kinds of birds.
But what was missing? The sixth day was even more amazing! On the sixth day of creation, God made animals.
In fact, he made a boy and girl of every animal. There were two giraffes, two rhinoceros, two lions, dogs, cats… He made a boy and girl of every kind of animal so that they could go on to have a family with a mother, father and babies. Soon the earth would be filled with even more animals.
And that is not all God created on the sixth day. God also created a man. The very first man! And he called the man “Adam”. This man was special and different from the animals. He was more like God than any other part of the creation. That is because he was made in “the image of God”. He was special, and God gave him special responsibilities. He was to care for this beautiful garden. God also told Adam to give names to all of the animals.
As Adam was naming the animals, he noticed something. None of the animals seemed to really match him. There were two of every kind of animal, but there was only one Adam. There was a boy and girl lion and a boy and girl tiger but only one Adam. There was no one like him, so how would Adam ever have a family?
But, of course, God had already thought of that. He had a plan that was just as amazing as all the other things he had been doing daily. On this sixth day, God caused Adam to go into a deep sleep. While Adam was sleeping, he took one of Adam’s rib bones, and he created a perfect match for Adam. God created the very first woman, and her name was Eve.
Finally, Adam had someone like him. Adam and Eve could have a family. In the years to come, there would be more and more people.
God’s world was amazing and wonderful. And this is what the Bible says happened next.
“So the sky, the earth and all that filled them were finished. By the seventh day God finished the work he had been doing. So on the seventh day he rested from all of his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it a holy day. He made it holy because on that day he rested. He rested from all the work he had done in creating the world.”
God’s world was beautiful. It was just the way he wanted it to be. He said that it was “good”.
Now it was time to think about and enjoy everything he had created. So that is exactly what God did on the seventh day. He rested.
God did not rest because he was tired. God does not ever get tired. God never runs out of energy. Instead, God rested because he was finished. He had finished creating our amazing world. This was now the time to rest, look at everything and think about what he had done. He could rest because he didn’t need to add anything or take anything away. The creation was perfect and just the way he wanted it to be.
Did you know that God wants people to rest like he did? We read in the Old Testament part of our Bible that years later, God commanded his people to make the seventh day of the week a special day of rest. This day was called the “Sabbath”.
God told his people that the Sabbath was a holy day because it was God’s day.
And God wants people to rest in other ways. He wants people to be safe and enjoy life because they belong to him. In fact, in Psalm 23, we read, “The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need. He gives me rest in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:1-2a ICB)
Just like sheep rest when their shepherd takes care of them, God wants us to rest in him and trust that he will take care of us.
And Jesus wants people to rest. When Jesus was on earth, he met a lot of people. People often had a lot of problems and felt very sad.
Maybe some of us feel sad right now. But Jesus had something very important to say. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, ICB) Jesus wants you to rest.
So, how about resting today? Let’s take a deep breath, relax, and forget about what is troubling us. Just think about God. Think about all of the work God has done in the creation. Think about how he takes care of us and has done so much work just for us. It is time to stop and rest.
Tonight, as you lie in bed, think about God and his beautiful creation. Remember that God rested on the seventh day, and he wants you to rest in him.
Ways to Tell the Story:
You can download the slideshow above in 2 ways.
Visual Aids that Cover All Seven Days of Creation
If teaching the story of the creation as a unit over a few weeks or days, repeat the whole story each time and follow this by going back and emphasising more details about a particular day. Try using a variety of storytelling and visual aid methods. Although there will be a repetition of the creation story, you will be going a little deeper on this particular day, “Day Seven”. By the end of Day Seven, all the children will remember the story well.
Each teacher is unique, so only use the illustrations that best relate to how YOU tell the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing, so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.
- What did God do on the seventh day? He rested.
- God told the man to “have dominion over” or to “rule” the earth. What does that mean? Man is to take care of the earth because it is his responsibility.
- How can we take care of the earth? (Various answers) recycling, not littering, not being wasteful, being kind to animals, etc.
- Creation Song (Emphasis on Day Seven Part)
- Got the Whole World in His Hands Song
- Hippo Song
- My God is So Big Song
- Refer to the Song Page on this website for more options.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- If you have time to plan ahead, invite the children to wear pyjamas to class today. And be sure to join in the fun and wear pyjamas too.
- How about telling today’s story quietly while the children are resting on mats? Perhaps play relaxing music in the background or dim the lights and light candles.
- Ask the children to write what time they went to bed and woke up each day during this past week. How much sleep does it take to feel good each day?
- Guide the children in taking deep and relaxing breaths, giving shoulder massages to each other, stretching or talking about other ways to relax. Once they are relaxed, ask them to close their eyes while you quietly talk about some of the beautiful things God has created. You could quietly read Psalm 148:7-13.
- Snoring Game: One child is blindfolded or hides their eyes while the other children take turns snoring. The first child cannot see but tries to guess who was snoring.
- Decorate a pillowcase with stitching or fabric paint.
- Decorate a nightlight with the words “God Rested”. You could use a small tea light or even cut a piece of thick paper the size of a light-switch plate and then decorate it. The children could place it over the switch plate in the room where they sleep at home.
- Use fabric and thin elastic to create eye masks.
- Creation Mural: Attach a long strip of paper to the wall and divide it into seven sections for the days of creation. As the children study each day of creation, glue items or paint pictures onto the corresponding section of the mural. For today’s lesson, have children draw a picture of the globe to represent the finished creation.
- Print bookmarks, trading cards or timelines (printable pages).
Visit the Teaching Ideas page for additional activities and crafts.
Other Online Resources:
- Craft: Paper crafts for pre-schoolers on days 6 and 7 (Our Crafts ~N~ Things)
- Craft Ideas for recycled items (Artists Helping Children)
- Other: Songs and Crafts for pre-school age (I Can Teach My Child)
Individual Days of Creation:
(Click on the individual days. Each number is an additional lesson)
Scriptures quoted from the International Children’s Bible®, copyright ©1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson. Used by permission.
©Mission Bible Class 2011-2022 Copies may be made for personal and ministry purposes only. Not to be sold or profited from in any way. www.missionbibleclass.org