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Jesus' Midrash: Materialism and God's Provision

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Sermon shared by Ed Vasicek

October 2009
Summary: From God’s provision during Israel’s 40 year wilderness wandering experience, the Jews in Moses’ time could learn some valuable lessons, the Jews in Jesus’ time could learn some valuable lessons, and so can Christians of all times.
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
Jesus’ Midrash: Materialism and God’s Provision
(Deuteronomy 8:3-18, Matthew 6:24-34)

1. "In contradistinction to literal interpretation, subsequently called "peshaṭ" (comp. Geiger’s "Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol." v. 244), the term "midrash" designates an exegesis which, going more deeply than the mere literal sense, attempts to penetrate into the spirit of the Scriptures, to examine the text from all sides, and thereby to derive interpretations which are not immediately obvious. The Talmud (Sanh. 34b) compares this kind of midrashic exposition to a hammer which awakens the slumbering sparks in the rock." [Jewish Encyclopedia]

2. It is my view that many of Jesus’ teachings -- like the Sermon on the Mount, are midrashim of Deuteronomy and sometimes Leviticus. The key to good interpretation is to find the passages Jesus is expositing. Since He spoke for hours and hours, and we only have a few minutes of what He said, getting this larger context makes a big difference.

3. Today’s message begins with what I believe is the source passage for Jesus teachings in Matt. 6:24-34; first we’ll look at the source passage, and then we’ll see what Jesus does with it.

Main Idea: From God’s provision during Israel’s 40 year wilderness wandering experience, the Jews in Moses’ time could learn some valuable lessons, the Jews in Jesus’ time could learn some valuable lessons, and so can Christians of all times.

I. REMEMBER God’s Provision and Warning (Deuteronomy 8:3-18)

A. God provided for Israel for 40 YEARS (3-4)

1. FOOD

Elaborate on the manna and quail

2. CLOTHING

3. Look BACK at the wilderness track record

4. God provides -- man lives by more than bread alone

• Man needs food to live, but God sent bread directly from heaven…

• God spoke the word and provided manna. As food keeps our body going, so studying God’s Word keeps our soul nourished.

• Some people think of rules and regulations as oppressive. Certainly they can be. We live in an age of jumping through hoops.

• You want to talk to someone about your account, and you have navigate through a maze of option. For service, press 1. accounts, press 2. To report a problem, press 3. on it goes.

The Jews did not view God’s law as oppressive, but as a great act of grace and blessing.
But rules also direct us toward a goal.

1. A safe combination is a series of rules. If I want to open the same, I am grateful for the "go right three times past 7" instructions

2. The Jews even celebrate a festival called, "Simchat Torah"

3. commandment, mitzvah, implies an opportunity to do something to please God.

4. In Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul tells us that we are saved freely by God’s grace through faith, but a result of our salvation is that we do good works. Those good works are a fruit of salvation, an opportunity to do something to please God. In a sense, they are like obeying a mitzvah. [source: Sitting At the Feet of Rabbi Jesus]


• Note how God specially values us, as sons. Deuteronomy 8:5, "Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you."

B. Put God FIRST and be blessed (5-9)

C. Temptation: DISPLACING God with material things (10-18)

"A full stomach leads to all kinds of sin." When all of a person’s needs are met, he tends to forget God (Beracot 32a). Quoted from The Torah Revealed
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