Thursday, July 15, 2010

Phariseeism, Priorities, and Structure, I

There's a lot of scripture in this post, but I do it to make a point. People are obsessed with following rules to the point that they miss the heart of God, as explained in scripture, for the sake of following the rules. First a review of Matthew 15:7-9 that we touched on in the July 8th post.

Matthew 15:7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,Vs 8 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.Vs 9 But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."

As mentioned before, people were missing God altogether, giving lip service to Him but missing what is important to Him.

Next scripture is also from Matthew. Here Jesus is speaking to the teachers of the day and bringing special attention to the emptiness of their religion. He points out that these teachers are more interested in the outward form and how things look than anything pertaining to the heart, either God's heart, or man's.

Matthew 23:25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

One sort of an outward display that should reflect what is going on inwardly is circumcision. But instead it became only an outward display. Though they circumcised the outside of the dish, the inside remained uncircumcised. And God has no patience with this false circumcision.

Jeremiah 4:3 This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it.

Our last selection, also from Jeremiah, God again is speaking to the heart of the matter. In the Old Testament, the law was something outside the person, to monitor and govern the person from the outside. Here God is giving the promise that He will put the law on the inside of the person, to govern them from the inside.

Jeremiah 31:33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

I have more to say on this but I shot a lot of scripture at you all at once. So for now we will simply close this post, unfinished and reflect on these scriptures in a later post.

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