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Pentecost 19 – Saturday Devotion

Readings:  Deuteronomy 15:19-16:22 and Matthew 13:44-58

Deuteronomy 16:16-17:  “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths.  They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.  Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that He has given you.”

Matthew 13:44-46:  “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

 

“Celebrating the Treasure”

The Jews today continue to celebrate three feasts as commanded by God in the Torah.  They celebrate the Passover, also included in the Feast of Unleavened Bread; Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks as it is seven weeks after the Passover, and Sukkot, or the Festival of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles, recounting the days when the Children of Israel wandered through the wilderness in their tents.

Recently our Hallmark Calendars included Sukkot. It was to remind the Jews of how even today, they can erect a temporary shelter and ‘camp out’ for a week.  But it’s more than just going on a camping trip.  It reminds the Jews that God would prepare a permanent home for them.

At the conclusion of this week of the festival, the people rejoice with singing and dancing as well as hearing the Torah read.  

Jesus also rejoiced in the Torah, but not just one time a year.  He celebrated it every day.  He taught the people on how even God rejoices in us as His treasured possession, His “segula”.  

The two parables of the buried treasure and the pearl of great price have a parallel interpretation.  Something that comes from the dirt or something that is harvested from what is considered unclean is valued because of what is inside.

In Bible times, if an invading army came, there was no time to gather up valuable possessions and carry them away for fear of losing them or having them taken. So the homeowner would find a spot and bury his treasure.  After the danger was past, he would return, dig up his treasure and reclaim his possessions.

But if he died, they would sell his property.  The new owner legally owned whatever was found on that property.  That is the illustration in the first parable.  The finder has to purchase the land in order to gain possession of the treasure.

The pearl starts as a piece of grit or sand in the mouth of the oyster which cannot spit it out.  Instead, it coats it with layers of nacre.  As long as it resides inside the oyster, the pearl grows in size.  The larger the pearl the more value it has. Again, to take possession, the buyer would have to come up with the purchase price. 

Where are we in this parable?  We are the ones buried in the dirt.  But the One who could sell all He has to legally buy us raises to life.  We are the pearl as we started out as a sinful grain of sand in God’s mouth. He coats us with His love and makes us precious and valuable.  He sent Jesus to purchase us from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil.

We now celebrate this good news—this Torah—of God’s grace and favor as He has found us.  And we also know that Jesus goes before us to prepare a place for us in our heavenly home.  

 

Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, thank You for purchasing us with Your holy precious blood and Your innocent suffering and death.  May we serve You in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.  Bring us to our eternal home with You in heaven.  Amen.

Our Father…

The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Amen.  (Romans 15:13)