March 25

1 Samuel 21-24, Psalm 84

The Word of God is perfect and nothing needs to be added to it. Many in various religious denominations have complicated the simple faith outlined in the Bible, by adding on a multitude of traditions, which over time are weighed more heavily than the actual Word of God. Pastor Lloyd Pulley often gives the example of the Sabbath elevator. For those unfamiliar with this throughout Israel, and even in the hospital that I work in New Jersey there is one elevator designated to stop at every floor on the Sabbath so that no buttons need be pushed. The reason for this is according to rabbinical interpretation the pressing of an electric button causes a spark and therefore constitutes work which is prohibited on the Sabbath. My pastor shows the folly in this logic, in that, if the elevator was broken and your hotel room was on the 20th floor, those following the Sabbath would choose to walk up 20 flights of stairs rather than press the button. Which option truly constitutes more work? As an obstetrician I have witnessed many women fast themselves into preterm labor by adhering to specific fasts while pregnant. These traditions are not just applicable to Judaism but practically every denomination in Christianity. Whenever traditions or works are elevated above a sincere relationship with God and the intent of His Word, be careful. The making of law which defies humanitarian or any logic also spills over in secular circles. In 2012, Mayor Bloomberg outlawed food donations to homeless shelters, because the city wasn't able to assess the salt, fat, and fiber content of the donated food. One temple that regularly donated their leftover bagels, etc was prohibited by this law.

As David is running for his life and fleeing from King Saul, he finds himself hungry with nothing to eat. He asks the priest, Ahimilech, for something to eat. When David asks for bread, we see Ahimilech's response in 1 Samuel 21:4, "And the priest answered David and said, "There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women." Once David affirmed this was the case, we read what happened in 21:6, "So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away." According to the Law, only the priests were allowed to eat the showbread. However when David and his men were hungry, the priest realized the law of hunger superseded the ceremonial law of God. We read in Matthew 12:1-2, " At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath." Jesus goes on to recant the story of David being given the showbread reserved for the priests. He concludes His discussion with the Pharisees in Matthew 12:7-8, "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice', you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." In the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho, we read that the army of Israel marched around Jericho for 7 straight days, therefore marching and working on the Sabbath day.

We live in Biblically illiterate times. Because of this most adhering to a particular religion have no idea whether what they are doing in the name of God is according to His Word or according to man's tradition. But ignorance to God's Word will never be an excuse, we all have the Bible at our fingertips if we want to know the truth. Beware of any religion which tells you that the Bible is too difficult to be understood and should only be interpreted by the leaders or an elite group. The Watchtower organization has kept Jehovah's Witnesses in the dark for over a century using this reasoning. But this also applies to many mainstream denominations which exalt their leaders over the Word of God. I pray that all will continue in the One Year Bible Challenge so that they have God's Word in their hands and hearts and will be able to resist any false teachings or claims made by the tradition of man.

Lastly, for those who are interested, Palm Sunday, which is today, represents an amazing fulfillment of God's prophecy, which is God's fingerprint in the Bible. The prophecy was made in Zechariah 9:9, written around 500 years before Jesus was born. In Daniel 9:24-27 (specifically 9:25) the timing of the prophecy was made when the Messiah would present Himself as king, also written 500 years before Jesus' birth. The timing of the prophecy begins when Nehemiah was given the authority to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 2:1,6-8, which corresponds to March 14, 445 BC. If you do the math taking into account leap years, no year "0" and making the corrections from the 360 day Jewish calendar to the current 365 1/4 Julian calendar you arrive at the exact date that Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Palm Sunday road. Any who want to question the validity of the Bible need only look at precise prophecies such as this to realize that this Book is unlike any other book.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster