The Lord has promised rest for His people. God also gave the children of Israel the Sabbath for them to rest rather than to work day in and day out the whole year through. The Sabbath is also a sign given to the children of Israel for them to know that they are the chosen people of God.
Exodus 31:13: Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
The Gentiles are not so privileged that God has promised to protect, prosper and provide for them in such a special way given to the children of Israel. Instead of enjoying the Sabbath God has given them, the children of Israel sought to use this God given rest for self glorification and contention.
The Sabbath was something good for them yet the self-righteous religious elite turned the Sabbath into a kind of bondage for the children of Israel. Consider what they did to the Lord during the Lord’s earthly ministry.
Matthew 12:1: At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Matthew 12:2: But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
So they determined what constitutes violation of the Sabbath. They had their own ideas of what the Sabbath was and how it should be kept. They judged the disciples of Christ who were hungry and had to pluck corn to eat to fill their stomach. As far as these religious extremists were concerned, the disciples should go hungry. The Sabbath God gave them was to make them suffer instead of a day of joy and rest in their all merciful God.
What logic is this you may ask. Is God a sadist? Are they implying that no one should cook a meal to eat on a Sabbath day? Are they implying that no one should fetch water to drink on a Sabbath day? If that be the case, everyone might as well just stay in bed and not move during the Sabbath day! Of course these religious extremists would have proper meals including cooked meals but just getting food from the field to put in your mouth would be a violation of the Sabbath according to their conceited understanding.
Matthew 12:3: But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Matthew 12:4: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Didn’t these religious extremists read their own scriptures? Didn’t they know David and those with him ate the shrewbred which was not lawful and they were not put to death? God didn’t personally kill them for profaning the temple but all this didn’t occur to them at all! They had lost their mind to even think. You can’t expect these blind zealots to understand the scriptures because they use the scriptures to find fault with others.
Matthew 12:5: Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
Didn’t they know the priests had to work even on the Sabbath day? They had to carry out religious duties and in so doing, they violated the Sabbath every Sabbath day and were blameless. They even have to perform circumcision on the eighth day of a new born male child even though that day might be a Sabbath. Didn’t they have eyes to see you might wonder.
Matthew 12:6: But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
Who gave them the Sabbath to begin with? Unfortunately, they couldn’t recognize the Lord who gave them the Sabbath was among them. It is the Lord who determines who has kept the Sabbath and who has not and not these religious extremists. The Lord Jesus Christ is of course greater than the temple whom these religious extremists claimed to be custodians upholding the worship and attendance.
Matthew 12:7: But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
Matthew 12:8: For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
These blind extremists were so full of themselves with their own self righteousness and they thought God would delight more on their sacrifice instead of mercy. They thought God would be very pleased when they offer sacrifice the more the merrier and keeping the Sabbath to the letter going hungry was God’s will. Perhaps they didn’t take note on this Psalm of David.
Psalms 50:8: I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
Psalms 50:9: I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
Psalms 50:10: For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Psalms 50:11: I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
Psalms 50:12: If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
Psalms 50:13: Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
Psalms 50:14: Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
Had these religious fools not read Samuel’s rebuke for king Saul?
1 Samuel 15:22: And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Had they not read the experience of king David who broke God’s laws and deserved to die and yet God spared him?
Psalms 51:16: For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
No amount of animal sacrifices could save king David for committing murder and adultery and yet God forgave him but didn’t hold back the consequence of his sins.
Did the religious extremists read the prophet Hosea?
Hosea 6:6: For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Keeping the letter of the law on the Sabbath became justifiable grounds for contention. They had become ridiculously hopeless to the point they couldn’t see the tree for the forest. They had lost their perspective for the Sabbath thinking that keeping the Sabbath religiously became a convenient platform to score political and religious points. Their brutal lack of spiritual knowledge was pathetic and tragic.
Here is another case in point how vicious these religious extremists could become if you dare cross them on their standards and regulations on God’s given law.
Matthew 12:9: And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
Matthew 12:10: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
The religious extremists were getting frustrated and desperate. They asked whether it was lawful to perform healing on the Sabbath day. They were not trying to learn the law. These religious hypocrites were out to entrap Christ to find occasion against Him.
Matthew 12:11: And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
Matthew 12:12: How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
This simple truth is just common sense but were uncommon to these hate filled religious extremists. Anyone would rescue a poor animal even on a Sabbath day but of course they would not acknowledge this and pretend not to know. None of them would think the poor animal had to suffer until the Sabbath was over before they would deliver the animal. It would be natural to set the poor animal free regardless whether it was a Sabbath day or otherwise.
But for man, it would be a different story because man has a duty to keep the Sabbath if you follow these self-righteous fools’ line of thinking. The Sabbath became a form of bondage instead of joy and worship.
Of course it is lawful to perform healing including priests performing their lawful duties during the Sabbath and were blameless. This is so natural and commonsense thing to do but it became too profound for these blind self-righteous religious elite.
Matthew 12:13: Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
Matthew 12:14: Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Will self-righteous religious extremists ever learn? If you don’t do and keep God’s commandments based on their own foolish understanding, they would even plot to have you killed. This is the mark of religious extremists. They can very quickly turn into religious criminals bend on killing those who disagree with them using God’s name.
They know not when to take the scripture literally and when not to especially when providentially hindered to do so. They would prefer this poor man continues to suffer instead of getting healed on the Sabbath day. So much compassion had these religious leaders on the poor man and you would be forgiven if you are disgusted with them. No wonder they know not God delights in mercy rather than sacrifice.
So when they take the scripture literally, they became literally insane. They are so full of themselves and are not subject to reason and of course, they know not the scriptures, let alone the Lord.
Proverb 26:12: Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Now you know why some church going folks are unhappy people? Christ came to set us free but there are modern day insane religious extremists out there robbing us of our liberty and they try to bring us under bondage and reduce us to their level of stupidity.
Christianity is not about rules and regulation and standards. Whatever standards and works for the Lord must be from the heart and not for show to please men and win their praise.
Watch out for religious extremists who could quickly turn into religious criminals and persecute you for disobeying them. They will bring you into bondage if they have their way with you.
Matthew 11:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Matthew 11:30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Observing extra-biblical mandates and unscriptural practice won’t win points in the courts of heaven. Walking the Christian faith is indeed easy and the burden is light.
The Lord has promised rest for our souls. Let us not listen to some self-righteous religious extremists and be burdened with outward religious trappings set by these self conceited fools. So go to the Lord for rest and not some high minded religious elite if you truly want rest for your souls.