Exodus 21:1-21; Matthew 23:27-39; Psalms 29:1-2; Proverbs 11:7
NT: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets… Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:27-31, 37 CSB)
This section comprises the last of the woes that Jesus delivered to the scribes and Pharisees. In essence, He said that because of their hyper-religiosity and fixation on outward appearances instead of the inward state of their heart, they were not truly part of the Family of God, but were descendants of of those throughout history who were motivated by the enemy to destroy the prophets of the Kingdom for their own self-preservation. Instead of coming out of the darkness, they chose to try and extinguish the light and keep everyone in the dark. Jesus then finishes this with a lament for the city of Jerusalem and the people of Israel as a whole. God so dearly wants to protect and cover people with His hand and shelter them from the ravages of a world gone rogue, but people refuse. Sometimes it boggles my mind how strong pride can be in people, to the point where they will outright reject care, protection, provision, etc. That embedded sin of pride and self-sufficiency is so strong. We would rather save face than be saved. Lord, I don’t want to be like the Pharisees, where I get so caught up in preferential religious practice that I remove myself from the flow of your grace and at the same time prevent others from receiving your grace. I don’t want to be so set on self-preservation… preservation of position… preservation of reputation… preservation of possessions, that I end up becoming a walking deception full of lawlessness and hypocrisy. I don’t want to become so consumed in my identity that I reject You and who You want me to be. I always want to be willing to come under your wing and trust you completely.
Psalms: “Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalms 29:1-2 CSB)
This goes a long way in remaining humble: ascribing to the Lord the glory and the strength that is due Him. Many are consumed with making sure that glory is ascribed to them, but David says be consumed instead with ascribing proper glory and strength to the Lord… and worship Him. It is then that we are able to see things with the right perspective, and can weigh any and all fears and challenges against who He is instead of who we are. This is how you move from fear to faith – ascribing glory and strength to the Lord.