In a previous article titled Just A Bit Of Grain you read a story line that helped to “put you in the shoes” of some of the Biblical Characters. That article further demonstrated the social foundation of the people of that time, and the particular event that was happening in respect to the social structure that those of Messiah operated within. This article is a part two to Just A Bit Of Grain. Let’s learn together.
Before the Disciples found themselves in the grain field, on a Sabbath, plucking heads of grain, they had been through a bit of a trial by fire. Yeshua had chosen His twelve, gained a bit of a following, then sent them out two-by-two to preach the Gospel to the surrounding cities. This was a very important step in achieving the goal. If a person is not rightly prepared for God to enter their lives, the shackles, lies, and tricks of the enemy will cause the person to turn God away. Most of us have experienced people not accepting our true love for them. God is no different: He carries absolutely no character but His own and many are not willing to accept Him for who He truly is, leaving them to settle for a cheap ersatz of His beautiful, strong and courageous Fatherly character.
The question here is this: why did the Author, Matthew, pen this in such a way that the event of sending them out two-by-two is followed directly by the event of the grain field? As mentioned in the previous article, we are looking past the drama of the Pharisees’ condemnation of Yeshua’s choices that day. We are asking ourselves why a grain field? Why gleaning after being apart from one another for so long? The setting could have just as easily been them enjoying a Synagogue Service. After all, it was Shabbat. It could have been at a river, or the Sea of Galillee, but it wasn’t. It was them picking heads of grain in a grain field on a Sabbath afternoon and likely exchanging excited stories and woes about the things they experienced while exploring their local towns and what it meant to spread the true Word of God to people who were about to meet Him.
In order to have a deeper understanding of why Yeshua chose a grain field on the Sabbath day, we must understand what gleaning means. In The Torah’s (Hebrew For Law, God’s Law as it is understood) Leviticus we find the definition of gleaning.
“Now, when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am יְהוָֹה your God.”(Leviticus 19:9-10)
Let’s pick through that some. Who, in Yeshua’s time, was understood to be responsible for keeping God’s law of gleaning? The answer is landowners who had food growing on that land. Okay, who benefited when farmers were obedient to God’s gleaning law? Verse ten says it is the needy and the stranger who benefited. How? How did the needy and the stranger benefit? They received their daily bread without having to beg for it. And what exactly are the responsibilities of the landowner? Verse nine taught landowners that the responsible way to reap their harvests was to do so while purposefully leaving the corners of the field unharvested, purposefully leaving fallen fruit on the ground, and purposefully not gleaning those things themselves, but leaving them for the stranger and the needy. Lastly, how does one glean? A stranger or needy person who needs food would go to a field, looking to the corners of the field first and venturing towards the interior looking for fallen fruit if the corners do not stultify their need for bread that day.
Now that we have a better understanding of what gleaning meant as a social undercurrent, let’s look at Yeshua’s resolve to take His Disciples gleaning on that Sabbath Day. What might He have been saying to His Disciples? Their act of plucking the grain heads as they walked through the field showed humility, although they were directly under the tutelage of The Almighty. It all belongs to Him, yet there they were together, lowering themselves to the lowly position of strangers in the land. “For you are strangers and sojourners with Me”(Leviticus 25:23) is the Scripture that comes to mind with all its warmth and love and gratitude. Yeshua was thanking them for the work they had done and assuring them that they were part of His fold.
Yeshua, when sending them out previous to the grain field event, charged them to take nothing with them:
-no money in their belts
-to wear sandals and not bring two tunics
-to have relied on the lodging provided by the respectable houses found in the city they entered and to stay there until they left
Yeshua, giving them those instructions is reminiscent of the manna from years past. They had their daily bread, and that was it. No leftovers in a bag for later. Just like in the desert. Except this bread from heaven came through Godly households before being received by the Disciples. This resulted in a holy cycle of blessing for God to work with while the Disciples, as His ambassadors, were preparing the cities for His arrival. There may have been times where no worthy household was found and the pair were forced to sleep outside and glean the fields for food until they found the proper soil to plant the seeds they were planting, the proper plants to protect and water with the living water they were offering, or the proper plants to prune with the wise eye of the Master Gardener who was overseeing their work. The structure and rules laid on the Disciples were not easy rules to follow and took great faith to do so. While gleaning in the fields that day, subtly, Yeshua was saying to them I was with you the whole way, we suffered together. The Father will not make you do something He would not go through Himself. He said this by showing them that He picked grain heads too, by taking them to pick grain heads with Him on a Sabbath Day.
Lastly, Yeshua leveraged the drama of the Religious Rulers’ tort against them as an opportunity to really drive home His gratitude and love for His Disciples. He indicated that the Disciples were on the same level as David! Above, in the eyes of God, those who serve the Temple! What a feel good, warm fuzzy that must have been!
Another article could be written focusing on the season: picking grain heads means it was Spring. A lot of information concerning the connections from their mission together and the times of Pesach, Firstfruits, Unleavened Bread and Shavuot is wrapped into that fact alone. Those studies are left for you study yourself with God. I may write an article on that in the future. Time will tell.
The few points above are a small glimpse into the veritable treasure trove that is the mind of Messiah: available to anyone who is willing to study themselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15 reference) with the goal of being of the same mind with Messiah (Philippians 2:20 reference) in order that we might move beyond the elementary principles of repentance and faith in God, toward wholeness (Hebrews 6:1 reference). It is by meditating on these things that true soundness of mind, healing of the spirit, and graduating towards the fulfillment of your calling is achieved. This article is meant as a starting line complete with gel packs and hydration to get you running the race with everything you need. Open up your Bible and get a move on. Messiah does not give rest to those who dilly dally on His opportunities. Shalom and thank you for reading my article, I pray it’s blessings multiply within you. Let’s grow together.
By: T.Griffin ben Yeshua Messiah
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