1 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
The Pharisees were masters at manipulating the Scriptures to get people to do what they wanted. Jesus could see through their inconsistencies and drill straight down to the bottom of their hypocrisy. Because the Pharisees practiced such manipulation, Jesus applied an OT passage to them telling them that their hearts were far from the truth. We read this passage and fully agree with Jesus’ assessment of the Pharisees.
Last Sunday, I brought a message on unity from Ephesians 4:1-6 and in that passage Paul spoke on walking with all lowliness, humility and gentleness. I must admit that in my lifetime I have held firmly on God’s truth but haven’t always been gently and lowly in my attitude toward others. Did I honor God with my words while my heart was far from Him?
How many people in church have been dealt with harshly and arrogantly while being given the truth? We have had church members who drove other church members away with their harsh arrogance. Maybe they were right but they sure went about it wrong. In the end, the work of God was not accomplished, only the will of men. James wrote that the wisdom from above is first pure then peaceable, gentle and easy to be communicated. Too many men and women, teens and children, have been turned off from God by the way they were treated at church. What a shame that church people, like the Pharisees of old, honored God with their words but their hearts were far from Him.
Let us be people of peace of truth and of gentleness at the same time.
This summer will rank as one of the busiest of my life. At this time, September looks to be back to normal and I am glad for the return. Part of that normal is getting back to putting out these devotionals. For those of you who read them, thanks for not getting on to me about the long breaks between them. I plan to get back to a regular schedule starting today.
Thank you for your prayers for our family. Stefani went to college this past weekend. Bobbi took her down to BJU. Check out Bobbi’s Facebook page for pictures. I just returned from a conference in Manila and met two men who are planning to move to Jakarta with the intent of church planting and training men for the ministry. God has brought us together to serve Him more effectively. Our house is having showings, pray with us for a bona fide offer soon. The church is moving in a good direction for its future. More to come on that soon.
Continue to pray for our sister in the Lord, Edna, whose back surgery has not brought about the relief hoped for.
Have a great day in the Lord,