Scripture:

Matthew 23

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

Observation:

Jesus is giving a series of strong lesson to the people and their religious leaders about how to actually observe the word of God.
Jesus has a series of strong rebukes (“woes”) especially against the “scribes & Pharisees”.
They are neglecting to actually live out the way they teach.

Application:

Well here have yet another “pop culture” reference that finds its origin in God’s Word: “practice what you preach”!
Jesus wants the teachers to actually live the way they’re telling others to.
But it’s always so much easier just to “know something” than to actually “do” that something … especially God’s Word.
I️ can know all the names of the prophets and what their messages were, but do I️ actually take heart to their warnings and understand how those warnings apply to my life?
I️ can memorize all the books of the Bible and their key themes and cultural context and literary styles, etc. … but do I️ actually allow God’s communication with me to give me a new heart?
I️ can not be content with knowledge.
I️ have to allow it to change me.
How good would my marriage be if I️ simply knew my wife’s birthday and our anniversary and, perhaps, her family history, and what her likes and dislikes were … but I️ didn’t actually live as if I️ cared about any of those things?!
It’s incredible that we’ve allowed Christianity to become something known more for what it’s against.
Jesus said the “weightier matters” of the Law are “justice, mercy, and faithfulness”.
These are action oriented, “others focused” matters!
There is outward evidence when justice, mercy, and faithfulness are actually lived out.
But this outward focused action doesn’t happen without an inner change of heart.
These “weightier matters” are contrasted with what the “hypocrite” is full of: “greed and self indulgence”.
I️ must steadily allow God’s Word to show me where I️ am focused on my self.
And I must have to softened heart to seek justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Prayer:

Thank God for your Word again.
Open my eyes to see where I️ can be used for justice and mercy.
Give me the courage to live faithfully.
Thank you for forgiving me when I️ fail to do so.
In Jesus name
Amen