" Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it" (Genesis 2:3).

This is the third time the word "blessed" is used in the Creation story. On the fifth day God blessed the creatures of the air and the sea (Gen. 1:22); then on the sixth day He blessed Adam and Eve—and through them all the creatures of the earth (Gen. 1:28).

In both cases His blessing was not simply a kind sentiment, but a declaration of His dynamic will. He pronounced specific benefits, and His words had creative power. By blessing the seventh day He exalted it above all other days, investing it with a unique quality that is identified in the next words of the verse.

The word "sanctified" reveals the specific nature of the blessing God pronounced on the seventh day: He sanctified it, hallowed it, by consecrating it to a sacred purpose. He established it as commemoration of His completed work. This was His very first act of sanctification in the history of our world.

In ancient Hebrew thought the word "sanctify" was part of the marriage ceremony. When a man committed himself to marry a woman he sanctified her to himself. So God sanctified the Sabbath to Himself, making it His own.

This is how God inaugurated the weekly cycle, setting the rhythm of life for the human race. In His grand design the seventh day was the apex of the week when His children could experience holy time, God’s time, rejoicing in the blessings of His creative power. This was to become a perpetual celebration of HIs completed work, renewed every week into the ceaseless ages of eternity.

– Jim Wood