September 8

Mark 3-4, Psalm 96

The Sabbath was one of many gifts that God gave to man. It was meant to be a day to relax and reflect on Him. But man's traditions has made it into a tedious, complex and at times arbitrary bunch of rules which is so far from its original intent. A year ago an Orthodox Jewish patient of mine was in early labor on the Sabbath. She asked if she could walk around a bit. On the Sabbath you can't use or ask anyone else to use anything electrical for that now construes work to them. So, if they need to get out of an electrical door they will simply stand there and hope someone opens it. Without telling anyone they managed to get off the unit through one of the electrically locked doors. Time went on and we couldn't find them. Eventually the husband made his way back to the unit but had no idea where his wife was. Through a series of staircases and a short separation (I believe he went to pray), he lost her on a staircase and he didn't know where nor could she answer a phone for that also would break one of their laws. We eventually searched a number of staircases and found her laboring. This is one of many examples that I encounter with them from their tradition which has been added.

Jesus said in Mark 2:27, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath...". The very next story involves a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath. We read in Mark 3:2,4: "So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him...Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. Jesus went on to heal the man in front of them. Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 another time which says, "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,".  

Man made traditions enter slowly and insidiously. If not careful it forms a religion which pushes out a true relationship with God. Chuck Smith (started the Calvary Chapel Movement) said: "Calvary Chapel started as a movement that was truly a fresh work, outside the scope of most other churches around at the time. But if the Lord tarries, and He takes me home before the rapture (which He did), I hope no one tries to institutionalize what God has done at Calvary Chapel. I don't want anyone saying, "When Chuck was here..." or "This is the way Chuck did it." We always want to avoid the stiffening effect of tradition, and as I have always said, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken". Change in and of itself is neither good or bad, it must be measured against the standard of God's Word. Staying true to God's Word and being in a true relationship with Him may ostracize you from others. Just remember Jesus' words in Mark 4:21, "Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lamp stand?" Tradition will deafen many and marginalize those who are willing to stay outside the crowd and fix themselves to God's Word. What Jesus said then is as true now, "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." (Mark 4:23).

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster