In Desperate Need
Have you ever entered into a contract without reading the fine print? You get to a point where you need help or want out of the contract only to find or read an escape clause in the fine print of the fine print. Please read Matthew 23:16-24 as Jesus calls the religious leaders blind guides because they were deceived in their sin. The religious leaders were using loopholes in their binding oaths as an escape clause thus leading them to take God’s name in vain. The Lord God told them, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7) The religious leader’s hearts had grown blind because they had rationalized what they were doing. People were looking to them for guidance in these matters and yet they were not practicing the truth nor teaching the truth. This is almost like having to go to court over a contract violation and yet the other person is able to get out of it because in the fine print is a loophole that you didn’t see and read. Jesus already told his disciples and the crowd that was with him when he was teaching the sermon on the mount to let your yes be yes and your no be no anything more than this is of evil. (Matt. 5:37 NASB) what made binding oaths special was not the place but the presence of the Lord. Even today we need to understand that everything we do is in the presence of the LORD. Jesus goes on to pronounce a fourth woe to the religious leaders because they were neglecting the weightier matters of the law. The religious leaders had turned their giving into a form of legalism. They made sure that they tithed very meticulously even down to the small things such as the kitchen spices that came out of their garden. We must remember that the LORD loves a cheerful giver. What the religious leaders had done in giving they had neglected justice, mercy and faithfulness. The religious leaders should have made right judgments concerning their neighbor. They should have exercised mercy. Mercy meaning forbearance toward the guilty and compassion toward the suffering. They should have also exercised faithfulness. Faithfulness is the belief of the truth and then living out what one believes to be true. The Lord confronts us because he loves us. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what the LORD requires of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) We must be careful not to rationalize what we are doing because it could lead us into sin and to be careful to continue to walk in the whole counsel of God’s word. Let’s not neglect the weightier matters of God’s word because it truly reveals what we believe.