March 2, 2017: Seeing the Field for the Grain

Morning: Matthew 11:25-12:8; Noon: Numbers 18:8-21:3; Evening: Psalm 37:24-40

They say you should see the forest for the trees, i.e. the big picture. When Jesus came to earth, it was time to set the proper focus and purpose back in servitude to God. Jesus challenged and provoked men in the religious sphere of activity, not for the purpose of strife or meaningless change, but for the purpose of restoring the hearts and minds of men back to the focus and purpose divine service.

Matthew’s account of Jesus and His disciples plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath is one such example. Jesus infringement upon their fleshly ordinances immediately incited them to pronounce what wasn’t true from the start. Jesus had not done what was unlawful on the Sabbath. Moses’ law permitted residents to pick and eat of the grain with their hands as they walked through the fields (Deu. 23:25), and though it would seem apparent to me that this would hardly qualify as the kind of work the Lord forbid,[1] Jesus cited historical and legal exceptions that took precedent over God’s Sabbath law. David ate the holy bread when he and his men’s lives were in danger during the pursuit of Saul (1 Sam. 21). The priests continued their occupational observances to sacrifice to the Lord on the Sabbath as specifically instructed by the Lord (Num. 28). Surely, we all recognize in the church today the precedence of missing worship on account of a sickness or serious injury. Now the Son of Man was on earth with urgent business to do that transcended the temple and its requirements, for He was “greater than.” Understanding the true nature and purpose of the Sabbath would have led to a proper understanding of these religious rituals, e.g. “if… your brother has something against you, leave your gift their before the altar” (Mat. 5:23), “Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). An understanding of who Jesus, who God on earth really was would have led to a proper application of the law. The Pharisees had lost their love for man, and their love for God, and were only seeing the grain for the field. They lost their focus and purpose.

The same God who walked the earth wants you to have a proper focus and understanding of His will today. The thrust of His law continues to be “mercy, and not sacrifice,” sincere love from the heart for God and your fellow man, and not a mere exercise of the flesh in religious routine. Neglecting this focus and purpose results in what Paul warned of concerning idle talkers, false teachers, and sowers of division, who walk according to the flesh and not the spirit (Gal. 5). You cannot be His until you are willing to keep the thrust of your life and focus on love for your Creator and His most glorious creation on earth, Mankind.

See the field for the grain and keep your eyes on the heart of the law (Gal. 4:14)

[1] Note the Hebrew word, malakah, “work,” used to speak of God’s creative “work” and elsewhere, is also used in Jonah 1:8 as “occupation,” and in Leviticus 23 is often translated “customary work.”

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