On the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.
The Babylonians took over their country, destroyed the temple, and carried many people into exile. They had lost their home and their sacred place, the place where they had been able to meet God. Yet, God was not absent from their lives. According to Samuel Terrien, in The Elusive Presence, "Deprived of sacred space, they discovered the sacrality day of the Sabbath....The creator may seem to be absent from history, but he is present in the cosmos and offers man a means of participating in divine creativity. The Sabbath, whatever its prehistoric origins, became for the first Jews a sacrament of presence."
They needed to feel God's presence because in their lives it felt a lot like God was absent. Many others through time have needed this reassurance that although they feel as if they have been deserted or forgotten, God is still there, is still powerful, and is still interested in our lives.