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.
Jesus’ Midrash: Materialism and God’s Provision
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)
Elaborate on the manna and quail
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 by Avrahom Yaakov Finkel.
Note: based on verse 10, the Jewish custom is to pray after meals as well as before.
Verse 18 is one I want you to note; very important when we interpret Jesus words later.
II. APPLYING These Principles to Everyday Life (Matthew 6:24-34)
Remember, Jesus is preaching at least a two hour sermon, and probably a 3 or 4 hour one. In the process, He is expounded a variety of Torah portions, I believe, including our text in Deuteronomy.
Jesus is answering the question: "These laws were given at a time when Israel was fairly united in their walk with God. Now, under Roman Law, with corrupt priest, all sorts of sects and beliefs, and many ungodly and corrupt Jews controlling our nation, how can we apply the lessons of Deuteronomy 8 to our lives today, in Israel in 30 AD?
What we have here are highlights of Jesus’ application of this passage to His day, I believe. And the fact Matthew preserves them suggests an application to us as well.
A. God will PROVIDE for You (25-32) Trust Him
• Did God allow them to go hungry for a while? Yes, so they would appreciate the blessing when He gave it. They also experienced intense thirst before He gave them water. But, when He called them to the dessert, He provided for them.