Of all the numbers that are significant in the Bible, ‘seven’ is arguably the most important. As a number symbolising fullness, completion or perfection, many consider ‘seven’ to be God’s number. This goes some way in explaining why the number of the beast (and of a man) is 666, a constant falling short of God and His perfection (Revelation 13:18).
For Jews, the seventh day of the week was to be set aside for contemplating God. They were, as an entire nation, to take a break from the ordinary humdrum routine of the working week to reflect on their history, the fact that God flexed His muscle and released them from slavery in Egypt in spectacular fashion.
“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” – Deuteronomy 5:12-15 ESV
Presumably in order to reinforce this sabbath teaching, the Genesis creation account is fashioned around a seven-day week, with God Himself upholding the pattern of resting on the seventh day after creating everything in six days. This seventh day is notably described without “evening and … morning” which rounds out each of the previous six days. This points us inexorably towards God’s future eternal rest in Heaven.
Seven also features in the New Testament, perhaps nowhere as prominent as in Revelation with seven churches; seven spirits; a scroll with seven seals; seven trumpets; and seven angels with seven plagues in seven bowls. Jesus, when quizzed by Peter, urged us to forgive a brother not seven but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:21-22). There were seven baskets of leftovers after Jesus fed the 4000 from seven loaves of bread and a few small fish, indicative of a God of abundance (Matthew 15:32-38).
Father, You are perfect and complete, when we have Jesus we lack nothing. Thanks that Jesus has procured for us Your rest without end. Help us offer forgiveness as freely as You’ve offered us in Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin in spectacular fashion by the cross. Thanks for not being a miser, You did not even withhold from us Your only Son, You treat us with such lavish abundance.