Is there ever a time when doing something unlawful is the right thing to do?
This is a difficult question; certainly motivation must be taken into account at some point. And yet, as humans we seem to have an infinite ability to justify ourselves so caution must be maintained.
In today’s account we have David fleeing for his life and taking the consecrated showbread for food. The showbread was only lawful for priests to eat. What’s more, Jesus points to this event as an example that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:23-28, see also Matthew 12 and Luke 6).
I have much more pondering to do on this. However, one thing I know for certain, caution is warranted because I know my heart and my heart is bent toward selfishness. And selfishness is a large doorway to sin.
Lord, give me eyes for You, to love You and serve You with all my might and body and soul. And when I find myself in ethical dilemma lead me into Your will, which will love and neighbors. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.