Devotional: May 9, 2022
Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, Ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.”
9-13 He went on, “Well, good for you. You get rid of God’s command so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions! Moses said, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel out of that by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, ‘Gift! What I owed you I’ve given as a gift to God,’ thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. You scratch out God’s Word and scrawl a whim in its place. You do a lot of things like this.”
Mark 7: 6-13 The Message
When we think of Jesus, we usually think of Him as kind, selfless, loving and comforting. Yet, Jesus did not hold back when it came to sin. He called out those misusing scripture and twisting religious laws to justify their sin. Here, he calls them “frauds”! He knew that their worship was not sincere. While their outward actions appeared worshipful, their hearts were far from God.
Instead of taking and acting upon God’s word at face value, the Pharisees were manipulating the Word of God. They wanted the scriptures to allow them to escape their responsibilities.
No doubt, Jesus is disgusted with them for their religious righteousness. He is also displeased as to how they have taken God’s word, and conformed it to their own selfish desires. The desires of the Lord do not matter to them.
Jesus sees right through the Pharisees. He knows that all of their chest beating is really an act. That is why he calls them frauds! They are simply taking their own preconceived, selfish ideas, and twisting and cherry-picking scriptures to support their strange, errant teaching. For the Pharisees, the end justifies the means.
This is a solid reminder to us that we must not try to re-interpret God’s word so it will line up with the outcome we desire. Reading the scriptures and spending time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to help us interpret God’s word: these are the only ways to truly follow God’s Holy directions.
If we take a chocolate cake mix, and decide to add pineapple, carrots and lettuce to it, we have not followed the directions. The result will be anything but delicious. Scripture gives us directions in life so that we can have a rich, faithful and pleasing outcome in the eyes of the Lord.
Therefore, we should let scripture speak to us, rather than the other way around. Approach the word of the lord with listening ears, and an open heart ready to learn. Let our prayer to God be, “Speak, O Lord, for your servant is ready to listen…”
God in heaven,
The world offers all kinds of advice, much of it conflicting, and contradictory. Help me to remember that Your Word is the only guide I can count on to get me through life’s journey. Protect my heart and my mind so that I am not distracted from Your path, even though the world may try and pull me towards another way. Surprise me with Your word, and let it instruct me in following Your son, my Savior. May the ancient prayer of scripture, “Speak, O Lord, for Your servant listens”, be my own cry to You, each and every day. I pray this prayer in the name of the One who is called the Word: Jesus Christ. Amen.