Love Isn’t Earned
Verse 42 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
Yesterday we talked about God’s promise not being what the people hoped it meant. Today we see the mindset that caused some of that misinterpretation of God’s love and promise.
God had given the law to Moses on Mount Sinai many generations before Jesus came on the scene and in that time the law had gone from commands from God to help His people to live set apart from the rest of the nations, to a list of burdens to keep. God had bigger ideals for His people. He had promised to care for them if they obeyed His laws. Through the years they kept some of the law but they missed the point of the law. God didn’t give them the law to control them. God loved His people enough to give them guardrails to keep them on the straight and narrow.
The religious leaders by the time Jesus was ministering, had added to the laws. They added steps that they said had to be followed so that God would love them. They had taken God’s loving list of laws and flipped their meaning to be actions to win God’s love. They were showing that they didn’t understand what it meant to obey God. Obeying God isn’t about trying to win His love, it is about reciprocating His love for us. We obey out of our love for Him when we understand the spirit of His commands. He gave them out of a spirit of love and for our long-term good.
One of the points Jesus is making to them is that they are so busy keeping the letter of the law that they are missing the very gift of love that God has sent to fulfill the law. The law couldn’t be kept perfectly no matter how hard they tried. The law required that if you stepped outside of the law a sacrifice must be made. That was one reason the Pharisees were so picky about their cleansing. But what they couldn’t see was that Jesus was the ultimate answer to the law.
They spent all their time criticizing Jesus for not keeping the law as they saw it and missed that He was the perfect Lamb that would be the last needed sacrifice. They were so focused on the physical that they were missing the spiritual. They were so obsessed with the law that they were ignoring the Law Giver.
Making It Personal
What is the danger of only focusing on obeying God’s laws? What do we miss by obeying the law without looking at how God gave it out of His love? Do you find it hard to obey purely out of love for Him?
Making It Personal Kids
What are the 10 commandments? What does it mean to love the Lord God with all your heart? Do you love God and show Him by obeying?
Father, thank You for Your love and the way You show it. We thank You for sending Your Son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Please help us show our love to You through obedience. In Jesus’ name, amen.