Genesis 36:9-43; Matthew 12:9-21; Psalms 16:5-8; Proverbs 7:1-5
NT: “And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.” (Matthew 12:10-14 NKJV)
People are often drawn to extremes. They may start out with a good and balanced understanding of a truth – but then begin drifting to extremes and becoming hardened in their categories which leads them to legalism, inconsistency, and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy comes when you apply your hardened categories on others but make exceptions for yourself. When you drift into extremes, you lose the heart of the truth and fall into a perverted, self-confirming version of the truth. How do we stay in the middle of the truth and keep ourselves from drifting to extremes? We keep the Lord of Truth as the focus of our attention instead of our categories, understanding that He sets the laws for the truth, and in His infinite wisdom, knows how to properly apply it. The Pharisees allowed their vision to drift from the Lord onto their categories and convictions – to the point that they were walking inconsistencies, soaked in hypocrisy. And when the Lord of Truth arrived, they were more committed to their platform than His purposes and set out to destroy Him. Are there areas in my life where I have become hardened in my categories and have lost the heart of God? Am I more concerned with mercy or maintaining my self-made platform?
Psalms: “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (Psalms 16:5-8 NKJV)
When we set the Lord before us and allow Him to instruct our heart, then the boundaries that are set in our life are placed in pleasant places. We become immovable – not in our categories, but on our trust and reliance on Him. He maintains what is ours to watch over and ours to do… He draws out the lines between right and wrong, what is allowable for us and what is not… and all of it is pleasant and blessed.
Proverbs: “My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:1-3 NKJV)
Keep His words (not our version of them). Treasure His commands (not ours). Have His law as the apple of our eye. And make sure that in everything you do, your heart is aligned with His.