Exodus 18:13-19:15; Matthew 23:1-12; Psalms 28:1-5; Proverbs 11:4
OT: “In the third month from the very day the Israelites left the land of Egypt, they came to the Sinai Wilderness… Moses went up the mountain to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob and explain to the Israelites: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant, you will be my own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”” (Exodus 19:1, 3-6 CSB)
This was God’s original intention for the nation of Israel – that they would be a holy nation, set apart to the Lord, all serving the role of priest to the rest of the world… a kingdom of priests. Priests are mediators and chief Kingdom agents. Being a holy nation was not unto exclusivity. God wanted Israel to be holy that they might be His agents to the World and making the Kingdom inclusive to those who would choose to come to God, not exclusive to only the Jewish people. What an awesome privilege! According to 1 Peter 2:9-10, that privilege has now been granted to those who place their faith in and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
NT: “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people… The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:2-7, 11-12 CSB)
I think that part of the reason Jesus chastised the scribes and Pharisees so much was because they had the awesome privilege of bringing people to God… to explain His ways… to teach His laws… to serve as mediator between a holy God and the people that He so dearly loved… showing them the way to righteousness. Instead, the scribes and Pharisees turned their position into an exclusive club only opened to them. They lorded their position over the people, were more concerned with their position and significance, and kept people from the presence of God by burdening them with impossible requirements that they were not willing to meet themselves. Jesus stated here, as He had stated at other times – authority is given so that you may serve, not lord. The way up in the Kingdom of God is the way down. Humble yourself and serve, and you will be exalted by The King. Exalt yourself, and you will eventually be humiliated.
Proverbs: “Wealth is not profitable on a day of wrath, but righteousness rescues from death.” (Proverbs 11:4 CSB)
King Solomon, who at the time was one of the wealthiest people on the planet, discovered that wealth can only go so far. Wealth can’t rescue you from death and it definitely cannot protect you from the judgement of God. Chasing after position, significance, power, wealth – while somewhat beneficial in this life, is of no benefit in the life hereafter. Our life now is but a tiny scratch on the endless timeline of eternity. So what are we living for? A virtual 15 minutes of fame here and now or blessing for all of eternity?