Deuteronomy 23:24–25: “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.”

December 7th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

This verse sounds familiar to us because Jesus’ disciples did this very thing in Matthew:

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!” (Matt. 12:1–2).

According to the law of God, the disciples had done nothing wrong. It was not illegal to pick grain and eat it by hand, on any day of the week. The religious leaders (Pharisees and scribes) had added this prohibition that it was illegal on the Sabbath, which was itself sin, as they were adding to the Word of God. They were making their traditions equal to God’s word. That is the problem with religion. Religion is what man does for God, whereas the gospel is what God has done for man. Religion is man’s attempt at outer reformation, while the gospel is God’s work of inner transformation in the heart of man.

Religion is found throughout every society on earth because God has given us a hunger for spiritual relationship with Him. Pascal called it a God-shaped hole in the heart of every man. We must guard against trying to fill that hole with anything besides God Himself. He desires relationship with us and has gone to great expense to provide a bridge for us to come to Him. Don’t let religion get in the way of your personal relationship with Him today.

“Thank You, LORD, for the bridge of Jesus Christ, which You provided so that we might boldly come and have intimate relationship with You this day.”