The supremacy of necessity


            Now it happened that He went through the grain-fields on the Sabbath; while they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.  And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  But He replied saying, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:  how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”  And He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2: 23 – 28.)


            God commanded that the seventh day of every week be observed as a day of rest.  When the Pharisees witnessed Jesus and His disciples casually plucking and consuming wheat on the Sabbath, they accused Him of violating God’s commandment.  Jesus asked them to consider an illustration from the Old Testament.  As a youth, David spent many days and nights fleeing from King Saul (an evil man who sought to kill him.)  On one occasion, he and his companions were so malnourished that, in desperation, they entered a temple and ate the showbread from the altar (a bread set aside solely for the priests.)  God did not punish David for eating the bread because he was starving and needed nourishment.  On rare occasions, necessity can supersede the legalistic application of certain biblical laws.

            Recently, I became aware of a child in Pakistan who desperately needed a hernia operation.  A large portion of his intestines had begun to protrude from the walls of his abdomen.  His family could not afford the surgery.  After praying for God’s wisdom, my wife and I decided to use a portion of our tithe money to pay for the operation.  Although we understood our biblical obligation to give ten percent of our income to the church, we also understood that a young child’s life was at stake.  We chose to forgo one law in order to embrace another.  The need to preserve life was the greater need [By God’s grace the boy is now healthy and doing well.]

            Following biblical law is essential.  Every statute is righteous and good.  However, as Christians we must never submit to extreme legalism (a strict adherence to the law that leaves no room for exceptions.)  Occasionally we will be asked to bend in order to accomplish God’s will.  May we always remain flexible; may we be sensitive too the needs of others; and may we seek to fulfill and apply the teachings of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we are thankful that You continually provide for our needs; use us to provide for the needs of others.  Soften our hearts that we might never be too rigid or legalistic.  May You continue to show us favor and aide us in knowing and doing what is right.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you. 

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