Saturday, February 11, 2012

Those Who Can't Do

Familiarity breeds contempt.  Hmm.  Some old sayings have merit don't they?  I never considered that this one might have application in the kingdom of God, though.

His Law.  His Word. They become very familiar after awhile.

Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.--Matthew 5:20
I desire to do your will, Oh God.  Your Law is within my heart.--Psalm 40:8

God wants us to keep His Law deep inside, to make it a very part of us: to live it, breathe it, and speak it before we even have to think.  But didn't the Pharisees do that, too?  They spent their days in the Law.  They studied it, interpreted it, taught it.  They wore it, for heaven's sake.  What went wrong?

The Law became familiar, so familiar that it made them contemptible.  

God made the Law as a bulwark, a stronghold to run to.  The Law is God in that it describes the boundlessness of His love and the limits of His pardon.  If we want to find Him on earth, we have only to run to His Law and rest in His Word.

But if we take the law unto ourselves, begin to administrate it from our own flesh, we become Pharisees.

God's law resides only in God.

God proclaims it, God administrates it, God reveals its meaning and the way it is to be understood in practice.  The Law must live in our hearts, but its origin remains in God's.

If we had remained sinless, the Law would have been enough--even one law, the one by which we were not to taste the knowledge of good and evil.  But it didn't work out that way.  God had to expand on the Law so that we could finally begin to understand it.  And then when we still didn't understand, the old teachers expanded it wider and wider, thinking that at some point, they would find the sweet spot between strict enough and good enough that would make the law theirs.  They didn't.

God's Law and His Word remain forever His sovereign property.  We share them only by grace.

The Pharisees did not understand this.  In fact, they, as teachers, may have benefited from another old saying:  Those who can't do, teach.


  1. We fall into great danger when we become so accustom to having access to His Word that it becomes common. Thanks for this reminder today to remain in awe of God's Word.

  2. In fact, many Christians operate like Pharisees... instead of turning compassion and hearts to those who still need to grow in the Lord. Good reminder.

    1. Yes, ma'am. We have learned this recently at a whole new level. It's so easy to grab on to the technicalities of the law and forget the love that must support and surround it.

  3. I quake in my shoes whispering this thought I've had so many times: anything can become an idol, even religion, even the Bible, when we forget the God behind it.

    1. As do I. I once had an experience that allowed me to approach God in what served as the Holy of Holies. That memory recalls the quaking every time. Even our declaration that our God is awesome often short changes proper awe.