Wednesday, 17th July
The “traditions of the elders” were those injunctions and practices that the Pharisees added to the Law of Moses. They multiplied religious laws and rituals to such an extent that it was impossible to know them all, much less observe them. With the passage of time these “traditions” began to be accorded the whole weight reserved for God’s own commandments.
One such practice allowed a son to declare something to be “Corban,” (i.e an offering devoted to God). This in effect absolved him from his responsibility and duty to care for his parents when they are in need. It directly contradicts the commandment to honour one’s parents by caring for and protecting them, especially in old age (Ex 20:12; 21:17). According to Jesus this “Corban” tradition effectively nullified the commandment of God which calls on children to be compassionate to their vulnerable aged parents (7:6).
Every tradition has its own particular kinds of temptations to exalt the traditions of men over the Word of God. The point is not to point the finger at someone else but to examine ourselves and our own personal and church practices. Is there “stuff” in our personal, cultural or church traditions that keeps us from wholeheartedly embracing and living out the Gospel in our lives?
Father God, help us to nurture an undivided heart and commitment to your Word. Help us to honestly examine ourselves and our and church practices in the light of your Word. Give us discernment and courage to remove any human traditions that impede our devotion to you and your Gospel.
PRAYER FOCUS POINTS FOR WEDNESDAY
- Keep us from practicing a religion that pays “lip service” to your word.
- Give us a yearning to worship you in “spirit and in truth.”
- Help us to resist the urge to treat our church, cultural and human traditions as if they are the very Word of God.
- Help us to be vigilant in discerning sin in our lives and in our traditions. Give us the grace and courage to confront and defeat sin and evil in our midst.
- Keep us from the foolishness of trying to set aside your word for the sake of our comfort.
- Lord Jesus, help us not to love our traditions and cultural ways of life more than we love you and your Gospel.
- Help us to love you with all our hearts, mind, soul and strength. Amen.