ESOCS Devotional 1 May 2023
MEMORY VERSE: “Making the Word of God of non-effect through your traditions, which ye have delivered and many such things do ye.” Mark 7:13
TEXT: MARK 7:1-13
Now there gathered together to [Jesus] the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem,
2 For they had seen that some of His disciples ate with common hands, that is, unwashed [with hands defiled and unhallowed, because they had not given them a ceremonial washing]—
3 For the Pharisees and all of the Jews do not eat unless [merely for ceremonial reasons] they wash their hands [diligently up to the elbow] with clenched fist, adhering [carefully and faithfully] to the tradition of [practices and customs handed down to them by] their forefathers [to be observed].
4 And [when they come] from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions [oral, man-made laws handed down to them, which they observe faithfully and diligently, such as], the washing of cups and wooden pitchers and widemouthed jugs and utensils of copper and beds—
5 And the Pharisees and scribes kept asking [Jesus], Why do Your disciples not order their way of living according to the tradition handed down by the forefathers [to be observed], but eat with hands unwashed and ceremonially not purified?
6 But He said to them, Excellently and truly [so that there will be no room for blame] did Isaiah prophesy of you, the pretenders andhypocrites, as it stands written: These people [constantly] honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far distant from Me.
7 In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching [to be obeyed] as doctrines the commandments and precepts of men.
8 You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men [keeping it carefully and faithfully].
9 And He said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting [thus thwarting and nullifying and doing away with] the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (your own human regulations)!
10 For Moses said, Honor (revere with tenderness of feeling and deference) your father and your mother, and, He who curses orreviles or speaks evil of or abuses or treats improperly his father or mother, let him surely die.
11 But [as for you] you say, A man is exempt if he tells [his] father or [his] mother, What you would otherwise have gained from me [everything I have that would have been of use to you] is Corban, that is, is a gift [already given as an offering to God],
12 Then you no longer are permitting him to do anything for [his] father or mother [but are letting him off from helping them].
13 Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing.
At birth one is born into a family of people governed by customs and traditions. We grow to learn and live according to the traditions of our people. Then we grow to become professionals in one field of endeavour or the other. The ethics of that profession go a long way to shape our lives and how we relate with God. In all these, we must give the word of God the right place if we want to enjoy the company of God, as we move in the journey of life.
In our text, the Jews were noted to deny the place of the word of God in their lives but gave the traditions of the elders (rules formulated for the daily lifestyle of the Jews) higher prominence. It became permissible to disobey the commandment but do well to keep to the traditions. In reaction and condemnation of that attitude, Jesus recalled the prophecy of Isaiah in verse 6: “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips but their heart is far from me.”
It must be noted that the scripture is our code of conduct. It contains the standard for behaviour. It is a guide for our life on earth. We should read, study and preach it as a guide to how we should behave. We should be doers of the word and not preachers and hearers only. Otherwise, we will be seen by God as hypocrites and may not be entitled to eternal life in the end.
- Do your physical acts of worship agree with your innermost intentions towards God?
- Father, give me a sincere heart and determination to serve you.
FURTHER READING: Exodus 14:5-20; 2 Kings 6:24-7:2; Romans 4:1-12
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ESOCS Devotional 1 May 2023