October 12 Esight, 2008

He has told you, O man, O woman, what is good and right, and what is the most important thing to Him:

Always do what you believe is right! Love showing mercy and kindness to those around you who may not always do what you think is right! And then, be humble about it, walking through this life with Him who loves you. —Micah 6:8 (Personal Paraphrase)

This week I would like you to consider the following story:

“At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, ‘Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.’ But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.’” —Matthew 12:1-7

Recently, I received a well-timed reminder about what is most important to God. What shocked me is that God used this reminder to show me, once again, how many “Wrong-God-Picture” roots were truly still left in me.

God did this for me through an insight into Mt. Sinai, which I had never before considered. Here, God was getting the million plus people’s attention with a display of shock and awe. Lightning, thunder, smoke, fire, an earthquake. No wonder He told everyone to “back up.” He wanted to get their attention but didn’t want anyone to get hurt. The point is that after all this display of fire-works (no pun intended) He proceeded to personally, with His own voice, declare what is the most important thing to Him! Out of all the things He could have said at that very moment, what He chose to say was . . . relationships.

He proceeded to teach them how to love: how to love Him and each other. I have to admit that at first I recoiled at this thought. I was used to seeing Sinai as a list of rules. Things God required of me . . . sacrifices to be made to keep God happy. Now I was sensing what Jesus shared with the mislead religious leaders of His day, “What I want is Compassion in how you relate to each other, not greater sacrifice and religious duty! No more lists of rules. Learn to love!”

They had made this mistake with the Sabbath especially. They had made the Sabbath, of all things, about religion instead of relationship.

“Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. They questioned Jesus, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ – so that they might accuse Him. He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.” —Matthew 12:9

Over and over Jesus tried to explain that people are most important.

“Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom” — Matthew 5:20, The Message

Our religious conditioning has left us incapable of truly seeing God as He really is, but Grace is sufficient. He came to give sight to the blind.

Thoughtfully ponder the “picture of God” that Jesus reveals.

“A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT, UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.

AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.”

“He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings, won’t push you into a corner. Before you know it, His justice will triumph; the mere sound of His name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers.”

—Matthew 12:20-21 NASB and The Message

I wish you God’s best this week.