Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?” (Matthew 15:3 NLT)
My first thoughts on the Matthew passage were “Yeah, Jesus, you tell those Pharisees a thing or two!” Then my thoughts go quickly to the Christians today that would be the equivalent of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. You know, THOSE people… We all know them, right?
Then I reflect on our reading in Job. We know Job is a very righteous man, yet earlier when Job gives us a list of all the reasons why he is so righteous and so does not deserve this Elihu finally speaks up to remind Job of the greatness, power, and justice of God. Elihu is still going on about this in our readings today. Job may have done many wonderful things, but he needs a reminder that God is infinitely greater, He is in charge, and nothing happens that is not under his sovereignty.
Then I start to think… If righteous Job has faults, then maybe I better go back and look at that Matthew passage again… What (if any) man-made commands do I follow and thus violate the direct commands of God? If I am totally honest, I can think of a few possibilities. Then as I reflect more and more, I think of more. I really want to be done thinking about this, it makes me very uncomfortable! As is usually the case when my quiet time starts out with thoughts of how passages apply to other people, if I take the time to reflect I see that it applies to me as well… I think of Psalm 19:12 “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”
Lord, please help me discern the man-made commands from the true commands of God. You say “fom the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you.” But you can cleanse our hearts. “Create in me a clean heart, O God” – words from David in Psalm 51:10 – words from You.