02/15/S – Truth or Tradition?

Genesis 46:8-47:12; Matthew 15:1-14; Psalms 19:7-14; Proverbs 9:11-12

OT: “The total number of persons belonging to Jacob — his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob’s sons — who came to Egypt: sixty-six. And Joseph’s sons who were born to him in Egypt: two persons. All those of Jacob’s household who came to Egypt: seventy persons.” (‭‭Genesis‬ ‭46:26-27‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The significance of this passage is the number of Jacob’s household when they entered Egypt: 70. The nation of Israel began as a clan of 70 people. This number will hold significance throughout the rest of scripture. It is the product of 2 other significant numbers: 7 which symbolizes divine completeness and perfection, and 10 which symbolizes divine testimony, law and order.

NT: “Then Jesus was approached by Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem, who asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don’t wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “Why do you break God’s commandment because of your tradition? …Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands.” Summoning the crowd, he told them, “Listen and understand: It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth — this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came up and told him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted. Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:1-3, 7-14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

There are two fancy words that come into play when interpreting scripture: exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is the process of drawing out the meaning of scripture through context and the meaning of the actual words – primarily objective. Eisegesis is the process of imposing the reader’s views and personal beliefs onto the scripture – highly subjective. The Pharisees had become guilty of eisegesis (interpreting the law of God in a way that benefited them, and then adding traditions on top of the scriptures that went way beyond God’s intent). By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the web of tradition had become so think that people were no longer obeying the original intended law, but were obeying traditional eisegesic interpretations and applications of the law. Those diversions and perversions will never stand up to God’s judgement and only lead people away from the truth of who God is and the blessings He has for those who trust and obey Him. How do we avoid falling into the trap of believing traditions over truth? We must become students of God’s word and remain committed to applying the truth of God’s word to our lives instead of the other way around. The good news is that the Holy Spirt was given to us to help us in that critical endeavor.

Psalms: “The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous… In addition, your servant is warned by them, and in keeping them there is an abundant reward… May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭19:7-9, 11, 14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

David has the right attitude and perspective. The Lord’s instruction is perfect. The Lord’s testimony is trustworthy. The Lord’s precepts are right. The fear of the Lord (honoring and respecting His words and ways) is pure and unadulterated. David doesn’t seek to reconcile God’s word to his life – he desires to reconcile his life to God’s word. That is why he says, may my words and thoughts be acceptable to You… may my words and my thoughts line up with and be in agreement with Your words and Your thoughts. I pray the same prayer… Lord, may my words and my meditations be acceptable to You, my rock and my Redeemer.

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