SCRIPTURE: Matthew 23:24 “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
OBSERVATION: This whole chapter is of Jesus rebuking the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites. And the first thing I want to do is be careful that I don’t just think of this as a “them” thing. As in, “Yea, Lord, tell them,” as if it has nothing to do with me. I want to read slowly and carefully and ask myself, “Is this me He’s talking about?” The one passage that stood out as I was reading this is written above. “Blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” I’m reminded how easily we can make the big things small and the small things big. That’s what’s happening here. In their religious fervor, the Pharisees are meticulous to obey “detail” laws like washing hands, and following rituals and at the same time forgetting the “Chapter Heading” type laws like love and mercy. It causes me to ask, “Am I keeping the main things the main things?” Is love a priority? Am I patient? Kind? Do I exhibit the fruit of the Spirit? Do I love righteousness and hate iniquity? Do I honestly pray for people? Am I a generous giver? Do I look down my nose at those different than me? Will I lay down my life for the Kingdom’s sake?
APPLICATION: Today I want to examine my life for inconsistencies. I want to look deeply at motives and justifications. I want to investigate what things I’m straining and swallowing. What things am I making important at the sacrifice of those things that are actually more important.
PRAYER: Lord, today I lower myself before You for a heart exam. I pay tithes but do I neglect mercy? I’m faithful to attend church, am I as faithful to show compassion to the hurting? Help me today, Father, to strip away blinders that would keep me from making the main things the main things.