Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-one verses of the twelfth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you find that it opens and begins with a rather interesting scenario for Jesus and His disciples. After just finishing declaring unto all those who laboured and were heavy laden, and He would give them rest, and after inviting such individual to take His yoke upon them, and to learn from them, and promising that those who do shall find rest for their souls, and after declaring that He is meek and lowly in heart, and His yoke is easy and His burden is light, we find Jesus and His disciples on the sabbath day walking through the corn. While walking in the midst of the field of corn, Jesus’ disciples were hungry, and as a direct result of their hunger, they began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. Imagine what this scene looks like as Jesus and His disciples are walking through a field of corn, and while walking through that field of corn His disciples begin plucking ears of corn from their stalks in order that they might eat and satisfy their hunger. FOLLOWING JESUS BUT STILL HUNGRY! FOLLOWING JESUS BUT STILL EXPERIENCING PHYSICAL NEEDS! FOLLOWING JESUS YET NEEDING SUSTENANCE! It’s actually quite interesting when you read this particular passage of Scripture, for within it you will find the disciples following Jesus, and following Him through a field of corn, and doing so hungry and in need of physical sustenance. While it is not something that might seem overly important, it’s important that we recognize that even when we follow Jesus, we can and still will experience physical and natural needs. Even though we follow Jesus within and throughout the course of our lives, we still live in this natural body and we still live in this physical world, and as a direct result of living in this physical and natural body, we still have basic human needs—i.e. the need for sleep, the need for food, the need for drink, etc. The disciples were following Jesus, and their journey with Jesus led them through a field of corn where there was food all around them. It was while they were walking through the fields of corn the disciples not only entertained their hunger, but also did so by plucking ears of corn from their stalks and eating. Please note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the physical and natural needs we as men and women have, for so long as we are present in this physical and natural tent we can and will always experience the same physical needs that everyone else experiences on a daily and regular basis.
As you continue reading this passage of Scripture you will find that when the Pharisees saw the disciples not only eating, but also plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath, they said unto Jesus, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (v. 2). Please don’t miss the tremendous importance of the Pharisees response to the disciples in this passage of Scripture, for this was now the third time the Pharisees had began questioning Jesus and His disciples. The first time is actually found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book, and is found immediately after Jesus came upon Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom. Beginning with the ninth verse of the ninth chapter you will find that after Jesus had just healed a man sick with the palsy, He continued to pass forth from that place until He came unto Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom. Upon seeing Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom, Jesus invited him to rise up from where he was sitting and to follow Him. Matthew records how upon hearing the invitation of Jesus to follow Him, he immediately rose from his place and began to follow Jesus. What happens next is actually quite interesting, for it is the events which take place immediately after Matthew’s decision to follow Jesus that begins to bring us face to face with the Pharisees during Jesus’ day. If you continue reading in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find that after Matthew had made the decision to follow Jesus, He invited both Jesus and His disciples to dine and have supper with him. What marks this particular dinner as to intriguing for us who read these words is that there were many publicans and sinners who came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. Matthew records how that night at dinner there were many publicans and sinners who came and sat down and had dinner with Jesus and His disciples, and how such a scene infuriated the Pharisees and their religious and hypocrisy. Matthew records how when the Pharisees saw that Jesus and His disciples sat down to meat with publicans and sinners, they spoke unto His disciples and asked them why their Master sat and ate with publicans and sinners. The Pharisees couldn’t understand why Jesus would choose to entertain such individuals within society, for such individuals—in their minds—were not to be entertained. The Pharisees could not understand for the life of them why Jesus would choose to sit down for meat with publicans and sinners. If Jesus was such a holy and righteous man, why would He choose to defile Himself with publicans and sinners. After all—surely Jesus knew and understood that such individuals were unholy and unrighteous before both God and men.
What I so love about Jesus’ response to the Pharisees on this particular occasion is that Jesus doesn’t rebuke the Pharisees, nor does He raise His voice against them. Jesus doesn’t condemn the Pharisees for the thoughts which they thought within their hearts, nor does Jesus rebuke them for asking His disciples why He ate with publicans and sinners. Jesus doesn’t condemn and indict them for their thoughts concerning His eating with and entertaining publicans and sinners. Instead, what Jesus does is declare that those who be whole do not need a physical, but only those that are sick. Immediately after making such a. Declaration Jesus went on to instruct and invite them to go and learn what it means when it says “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,” for He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Jesus’ words to the Pharisees are absolutely remarkable and astounding, for instead of condemning them for the thoughts within their hearts, and for their lack of understanding, what He does instead is declare unto them that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. This is actually quite interesting and quite remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for when John the Baptist emerged on to the scene he cried out as a voice in the wilderness for men and women within and throughout the region of Judaea and the surrounding towns, villages and cities to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. What’s more, is that when Jesus emerged from the wilderness, He immediately began crying out and preaching, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” If we are going to understand the four gospels which were written by these New Testament authors, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand that at the very heart of the gospel is a wonderful and powerful call to repentance. I am utterly and completely convinced that you cannot have a conversation about the gospel concerning Jesus Christ without having at the same time a conversation that centers around repentance. If both John the Baptist, as well well as Jesus Christ both cried out for men and women to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand, what makes us think that we can and should do anything less? Five chapters after we first read of Jesus crying out for men and women to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, we find Him responding to the Pharisees by emphatically declaring that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Essentially, Jesus did not come to call those who believed within their hearts they had no need for forgiveness, nor those who believed within their hearts that they had no need for healing, for cleansing and for restoration. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke when beginning the Sermon on the Mount, for the first words Jesus proclaimed and declared in that sermon was “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, that which Jesus was declaring at the very outset of the Sermon on the Mount was that those who recognized their tremendous need for Him would not only be blessed, but would also inherit the kingdom of heaven. If we are going to understand the ministry of Jesus, we must understand that Jesus came to call sinners to repentance, for the righteous believed themselves to be righteous and having absolutely no need for repentance. I am reminded of Jesus’ own words when He spoke of the Father and declared that the Father did not send Him into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Jesus came into the world to call sinners unto repentance, and to bring them face to face with their needs. The Pharisees couldn’t understand Jesus’ mission and work within and upon the earth, for they could not wrap their minds around and fathom Jesus entertaining sinners and publicans within the earth. The Pharisees could not understand why Jesus would sit down at the same table with publicans and sinners, and in all reality—this is a theme that we find again and again throughout the gospels. You will recall later on in the gospels when Mary came into Simon’s house and anointed Jesus’ hair with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. The Pharisees—along with Simon—could not understand why Jesus would entertain and condone such an act from such a woman who was a sinner. Undoubtedly this woman had a reputation among the Pharisees, as well as perhaps the community, and as a direct result of what was known about her, the Pharisees and Simon could not understand why Jesus—if He knew what type of woman this was being a sinner—would choose to allow her to engage in such a wonderful act of worship. The Pharisees had an incredibly difficult time with Jesus because Jesus chose not to shun or to ostracize the publicans and sinners—those who were marginalized by the religious community. The Pharisees and the religious system could not understand why Jesus would choose to spend His time sitting down to eat dinner with publicans and sinners, for such an act would surely and certainly defile Him. If Jesus was such a holy and righteous man, why on earth would He choose to defile Himself with publicans and sinners, and why would He allow Himself to sit down for meat and dinner with them? Jesus’ response to these thoughts within their heart was simply that He didn’t come to call the righteous—those who felt and believed within their own hearts they had no need for forgiveness, for cleansing, for healing, etc—but rather, He came to call sinners—those who recognized how poor, wretched, blind and miserable they were, and as a result, recognized their incredible and tremendous need for forgiveness, their incredible need for mercy, and their incredible need for grace.
I mentioned that what we find in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel was the third instance where the Pharisees began to rise up against Jesus in vehement opposition, and the second is actually a real brief description of the Pharisees during that day. As the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew draws to a close, it does so with men and women bringing unto Jesus a dumb man possessed with a devil. Matthew records that when the devil was cast out, the dumb spoke, thus causing the multitudes to marvel, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. In direct response to the words which the multitudes spoke concerning the wonderful and mighty works which Jesus was performing among them in the earth, the Pharisees declared that Jesus cast out devils through the prince of the devils. This is actually quite a serious statement and declaration which the Pharisees made, for they were looking at the wonderful and mighty works which Jesus Himself performed, and they were attributing His works to Beelzebub the prince of the devils. They were taking the word of God, discrediting it, emphatically declaring that it was not a work of God and the Spirit of God alone, but was instead an act and work of the prince of the devils. They witnessed Jesus cast out devils and drive out evil spirits from men, and they believed within their hearts that Jesus was doing so by the prince of the devils. The Pharisees could not accept the fact that Jesus was performing the mighty works He was engaging in by the finger of God—by the very Spirit of the living God within and upon the earth. The Pharisees could not understand that the works which Jesus Christ was doing within the earth was actually an extension and expression of the work which the Father Himself was doing in the earth. The Pharisees couldn’t understand that what was taking place among them was a mighty demonstration of the mighty works and the mighty power of God among men. What a terrible tragedy to behold and bear witness to the wonderful and mighty works of the living God among us within a generation, and to be unable to recognize that the works which are taking place are being performed and completed according to the finger of God, and according to the very power and authority of the living God who sits upon the throne in heaven. Religion has always and will always seek to deny and discredit the mighty works of God among men within the earth, and will always seem to condemn and indict it as not being of God, and being attributed to something else. Religion, legalism and hypocrisy has always and will always take the mighty works of God and discredit them as being nothing more than a manifestation of the flesh, a manifestation of men’s own imagination, and even a manifestation of evil spirits and evil forces. Religion has never and will never be able to accept the mighty and wonderful works of the living God among men within the earth—particularly and especially when it takes place among sinners and those who would undoubtedly be marginalized and ostracized by men.
When you come to the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you find Jesus walking through fields of corn with His disciples, and His disciples plucking ears of corn from the stalks so they could eat and satisfy their physical and natural needs. The Pharisees witnessed the disciples engaging themselves in what they considered to be work on the sabbath day, and immediately condemned and indicted the disciples for breaking the sabbath by plucking ears of corn and eating on the sabbath. Imagine this scene and what it looked like as the Pharisees—as religion, as legalism, as hypocrisy, and as religious tradition—directly confronted Jesus concerning His disciples, and accusing them of acting unlawfully and breaking the commandment of the living God to honour the sabbath. I can’t help but wonder what this was like for the disciples as they undoubtedly witnessed the Pharisees speaking unto Jesus concerning their actions, and wondering how Jesus would respond to the indictment of the Pharisees toward and against them. It might very well be said the Pharisees were looking for a reason to condemn Jesus’ disciples in order that they might find fault with them. Upon seeing them plucking ears of corn and eating on the sabbath day, the Pharisees felt they had enough reason and grounds to confront Jesus concerning the actions of His disciples. The Pharisees believed they had a case against the disciples of Jesus because they were acting unlawfully against the commandment of God concerning the sabbath. What’s so incredibly important to recognize and realize concerning this particular passage is that while it was true it was commanded to honour the Sabbath, and that we should do our works in six days, and on the seventh day we should do no rest, that which the Pharisees were attempting to indict the disciples with was an infraction against their own traditions. One thing we must recognize and understand concerning the Pharisees is that they took the law of Moses which was given by the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai, and added their own traditions and interpretation of the law with all its commandments and statues. More often than not, what we find taking place in the gospels is a direct confrontation between Jesus Christ and the traditions of men. Jesus Himself declared that He did not come to abolish the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them; and He would even go on to declare that not one jot or one tittle of the law would fade away. When Jesus came to the earth, he did not come to abolish or destroy the law, but rather to fulfill it among men. What we find here in this particular passage of Scripture is a wonderful and powerful picture of a clash between Jesus and His disciples with the traditions of men which were directly linked and connected to the law of Moses. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Pharisees were not so much concerned with the law of Moses itself, as much as they were concerned with their own traditions and interpretation of the law. It was Jesus’ seeming disregard for the traditions and interpretation of the law that so infuriated the Pharisees, the scribes, and the religious community of that day, and caused a clash between religion and righteousness—between the traditions of men and the holiness of God.
As you read the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find Jesus directly responding to the indictment and condemnation of the Pharisees concerning His disciples and their actions on the Sabbath day. In direct response to the Pharisees’ indictment and condemnation of the disciples of Jesus, He immediately began speaking of David in the Old Testament who, when He was hungry—together with those that were with him—entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread which was not lawful for them to eat. The account of David and those which were with him is found in the twenty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel. Beginning with the first verse of the twenty-first chapter of this Old Testament book we find the following account of David and those who were with him:
“Then came David to Nob to Ahimelch the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hat commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. Now therefore what is under thine hand? Give me give loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there by the shewbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away” (1 Samuel 21:1-6).
I find the words which Jesus spoke unto the Pharisees within this passage to be absolutely incredible, for they confront us with something truly and absolutely remarkable. When responding to the Pharisees’ indictment of the disciples for plucking and eating ears of corn on the Sabbath day, Jesus asked them if they had not read what David did when he was hungry, and those that were with him, and how they entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread. Please don’t miss what is found within Jesus’ words to the Pharisees, for not only did Jesus speak of David and his men being hungry, but Jesus also spoke of David and his men being hungry, and coming into and unto the house of the Lord. I am absolutely and utterly convinced that there is a wonderful truth in this particular passage of Scripture, for what do you do when you are hungry? What do you do when there is a deep and inner longing and hunger within your heart and soul? What do you do when you find yourself hungry—and not hungry for physical or natural bread, but for something much more? What do you do and where do you go when you are hungry? Within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus reminding the Pharisees how David and his men entered into the house of the Lord while in that place of hunger and need in order that they might find something to eat that would satisfy their hunger. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women enter into the house of the Lord because they themselves are hungry. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women enter into the house of the Lord because there is a deep and inner longing within their hearts and souls for something more—something greater—than what they had previously experienced. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women enter into the house of the Lord in this generation because they are hungry, and because there is a real deep spiritual need within the very depths of their heart and soul. It is true that Jesus was speaking concerning David and a physical hunger which drove them into the house of the Lord, and I am convinced that David not only felt he could find sustenance in the house of the Lord, but he could also find safety and shelter in the house of the Lord. This brings me to a very important question concerning the house of the Lord among us within this generation, and whether or not the house of the Lord can not only be a place of sustenance where men and women can come hungry and be fed, as well as a place of shelter and safety. When men and women enter into the house of the Lord where we worship, do they feel safe among the brethren who are present within the house? When men and women enter into the house of the Lord where we gather together to worship, are they able to find shelter for their weary souls, and shelter from the storm(s) that rage all around them? When David entered into the house of the Lord—not only did he enter hungry, but he also entered having fled from the murderous hand of Saul who sought to kill him with the spear that was in his hand.
There is not a doubt in my mind that when David entered into the house of the Lord—Himself together with those who were with him—he did so hungry and famished from his journey, as well as perhaps tired and weary from seeking shelter, safety and solace from the murderous hand of Saul king of Israel. David came unto the house of the Lord, and came unto Ahimelech the priest in need of bread, for he and those who were with him were hungry and in need of food. Who knows how long they had gone without food, and perhaps even without water and even sleep. Who knows how long they had gone without receiving that which would satisfy their physical bodies and the needs which were very real among them on this particular occasion. Scripture records how David and those who were with him entered into the house of the Lord in order that they might find rest for their souls, in order that they might find food for their bodies, and perhaps even in order that they might find safety, shelter and solace from the murderous hands of Saul king of Israel who sought to kill David. I can’t help but find this to be absolutely incredible and wonderful, for it brings us face to face with what the house of the Lord should be for those who are not only hungry, but also those who are tired, worn out and weary. It’s interesting that this particular reference is made immediately after Jesus issues one of the single greatest invitations in all of Scripture—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learnt of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Having just invited those who laboured and were heavy laden to come unto Him that He might give them rest, we find Jesus speaking to the Pharisees concerning David who entered into the house of the Lord—undoubtedly tired, undoubtedly weary, undoubtedly hungry, and undoubtedly worn out from fleeing from the murderous threats of Saul. The more I read Jesus’ words spoken unto the Pharisees, the more I am convinced the house of the Lord should be a place where those who have wandered tired, hungry, thirsty, and perhaps even alone and weary can come and find shelter, safety and solace. The house of the Lord should be a place where men and women can come in order that they might feel safe among those present within it without fear of judgment or reproach. The house of the Lord should be a place where those who are thirsty can come in order that they might encounter the living water, and where those who are hungry can come in order that they find sustenance for their intense desire and longing. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied in the Old Testament prophetic book which bears his name, as well as the words which Jesus Himself spoke and declared in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John. Consider if you will both the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied, as well as the words which Jesus Himself spoke in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John:
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfies not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:1-11).
“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. They said therefore unto Him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:28-41).
What I so love about this particular passage of Scripture is that not only are we confronted with the reality of finding bread in the house of the Lord, but we are also confronted with the reality of finding healing in the house. In the first eight verses of the chapter we find Jesus speaking of David, and how he and those with him entered into the house of the Lord hungry and found sustenance by eating the shewbread which had been removed from the table in order that new bread might be placed thereon. In verses nine through twenty-one—after just confronting the Pharisees and their indictment and condemnation of His disciples concerning the Sabbath—we find Jesus again confronting the Pharisees after entering into their synagogue and witnessing a man which had his hand withered. What’s so interesting about this passage is that the Pharisees were aware of this man’s presence, and were even aware of this man’s need, and they used this man’s need as a means to trap and accuse Jesus. I can’t help but wonder how long this man had entered into this synagogue with his withered hand, and was perhaps paid no attention or mind to. I can’t help but wonder if this man entered into the synagogue to listen to the teaching of the scribes, or the teachers of the law, or others, and yet each time he entered in with his withered hand, and each time he left with that same withered hand. This particular day, however, was different, for on this particular occasion Jesus entered into the house, and was not only willing to heal and restore Him, but also demonstrate the authority of the Son of man over the Sabbath day. As I read the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, I can’t help but be directly confronted with the fact that not only should there be bread in the house in order that those who are hungered can find sustenance for their hunger, but there should also be healing in the house of the Lord. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not the house where we worship is a place where bread can be found to satisfy the hunger of those who enter therein, and whether or not the house where we worship is a place where men and women who are tired, weary, weak and worn out can find rest and shelter for their souls. Is the house where we worship a place where the living Bread is found, and where men and women can be satisfied regardless of their level of hunger? Is the house where we worship a place where men and women can encounter the living bread which can satisfy their deepest longings and their most intense desires? Is the house in which we worship a safe place where men and women can come with their needs, with their longings, and with those things which are weighing on their souls in order that they might find rest? Is the house where we worship a place where healing can take place—regardless of whether it’s physical healing, or whether it’s emotional healing?
The house of the Lord should be a place where men and women should be able to come and feel completely safe and secure without having to worry about religion, traditions of men, legalism, hypocrisy, judgment, condemnation, and the like. Can this be said of the house in which you worship? The house of the Lord should be a place where those who labor and are heavy laden can come and experience the One who can provide rest for their souls. Let me ask you a question and be very candid, blunt and pointed—do you feel comfortable in the house in which you are worshipping? Do you feel safe and secure in the house in which you are worshipping? Please note that by being safe and secure, I don’t mean safe and secure in remaining in your sin, and not hearing the true word of the Lord, and being called to a deeper level of holiness and righteousness before a loving and holy God. Please note that what I am speaking about is a place where you can feel comfortable to come with your struggles, where you can come with your sin(s), where you can come with your weaknesses, where you can come with your battles, in order that you might be able to find and experience the true and living God. Is the house in which you worship a place where you can truly find rest for your weary soul—a place where you can come in your tiredness, a place where you can come in your weariness, a place where you can come in your weakness? Is there bread in the house in which you worship? Is there healing in the place in which you worship? Naomi, her husband and their two sons left Bethlehem and the land of Israel because of a famine, but when the famine ended and Naomi and her two daughter in laws heard there was bread in the land once more—bread in the house of bread—Naomi decided to return to that place after spending a considerable amount of time in Moab. Accompanied by Ruth Naomi returned to Bethlehem—returned to the house of bread—in order that they might find that which they ultimately and truly desired. I am completely and utterly convinced that the house of the Lord should be a place where we can come to find rest for our weary souls, bread for our hungry hearts, and healing for our physical bodies and souls. The house of the Lord should be a place where healing is readily available—not because any particular man is there, but because the very Spirit of Christ is present in that place. David and his men found sustenance and strength in the house of the Lord because bread was there, and this man with a withered hand found healing in the house because Jesus was there. Oh that the same would and could be found in the house in which we worship. Oh that men and women would enter into the houses in which we worship in order that they might not only find bread for their hungry hearts, but also water for their thirsty souls. HUNGRY HEARTS, THIRSTY SOULS!