Matthew 12:2 KJV
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.
Rigidity in Sabbath Rules – R. Tuck
That which the disciples did was not regarded as a wrong thing in their day. Thomson tells us that, when travelling in harvest-time, his muleteers plucked off the ears of corn, rubbed them in their hands, and ate the grains, just as the apostles did.
And this was quite allowable; it was never thought of as stealing.
The Pharisees did not object to the thing that was done, but to the infringement of their stiff rule, that this particular act should not be done on the sabbath, because it amounted to doing work on the sabbath day.
Divine laws can gain adjustments and adaptations to fit to various conditions and circumstances; there is elasticity in their applications.
▪︎ Man-made laws are stiff and rigid; they scarcely permit exceptions; and require that men shall always adjust to them, and never expect law to adjust to meet their need.
▪︎ The Divine sabbath law is large, comprehensive, spiritual, and therefore searching. But it is elastic, and adjusts to man’s varying conditions; it does not expect men to force themselves to fit to it.
Human sabbath rules were, in our Lord’s time, and are still, most vexations things – yokes that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear.
They required a woman to have no bow on her dress, unless it was sewn on, and so a part of the dress; for otherwise she would be carrying a bow. And these strange rules to-day permit a woman to use a pin on the Sunday, but refuse to allow her to use a needle.
Sabbath never can be really kept on man-made rules. “In their bigoted reverence for the sabbath some of the Jews asserted that the day was first of all kept in heaven, and that the Jewish nation had been chosen for no other end than to preserve it holy upon earth.”
The extent to which they carried their scruples excites one’s ridicule and contempt.
I. THE SABBATH AS A PRINCIPLE.
It is well, in dealing with the sabbath, always to show first that it is a Divine arrangement for humanity, as such, and is not, in the first place, distinctively religious.
For healthy life God provided the rest of night; for healthy work God provided the rest of the sabbath. But there is this important difference between them.
The rest of night is compulsory; the seventh-day rest is voluntary.
This at once brings in the element of principle and of religion. If a man is in the fear and love of God, as he should be, he will readily and cheerfully do what God suggests as well as what God commands.
II. THE SABBATH AS A RULE.
Voluntary things may not be done; then if God will not make certain things compulsory, men think they can do God service by fixing rules for their fellows, and so make them keep sabbath.
And even good men cannot see that thus they take all the glory of the sabbath away.
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