2021_03_26 Insight Post- Emma Keeton
This week's reading- Matthew 23 & 24
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Matthew 23:23-24 shows Jesus calling out the Pharisees for being religious, but neglecting to care for people. He tells them “you give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness.” He then humorously goes on to say “you blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel.”
The Pharisees were following law to the letter here, as commanded in Leviticus. God had told the Israelites to tithe a tenth of everything harvested from the land. Can you imagine how fastidious the Pharisees were to weigh out small quantities like spices and then give a tenth back to the temple? Similarly, the Pharisees held up the law when it came to drinking their wine. Jewish history records the practice of straining wine just in case an unclean insect (like a gnat) were to fall into the cup. The Pharisees were devoted to God and wanted to follow the law in every way, but Jesus tells them justice, mercy and faithfulness was the more important part of the law.
It is often easier to follow rules. Rules are concrete, you know you have succeeded when you've followed them. You have done what is required of you. It's not that following the rules is wrong, what's missing is the dynamic and unpredictable life we have all been called to. Justice, mercy and faithfulness require us to be aware of God's voice. Are we willing to let Jesus interrupt our days so at any moment we can act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God?
Still my mind, make my heart not wander, let me focus on you, God.
Let me be grounded in your word, your truth,
Open my ears so I can hear your voice.
Here I am Lord, send me.
In Jesus Name
Prayer Team Lead