In previous entries, we have considered some of the most important wants a person can have. Do I want to GET from others or, in appreciation of what I have been given by God, GIVE to others? Do I primarily want a God that heals (fixes circumstances) or redeems me from wrongs inside my own soul?
Now…you are invited to consider whether you want to be worshiped OR you want to worship another, namely God. Mark 7:1-13 is our text under consideration.
Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees (and scribes) hated Jesus so much? Moreover, why were they so spun up about ceremonial washings? Finally, have you ever stopped and asked how the Pharisees could be so far off when they really thought they were doing right…indeed, they thought they were honoring God by crucifying Jesus (cf. John 16:2).
I take it that something of the following was churning deep within the souls of the Pharisee (and all of us as well!):
1. They really wanted to be worshiped (self-saving) instead of worshiping God
2. This idol (self-saving) promised them joy and fulfillment
3. The idol then became their master: reversing the table and demanding allegiance
4. Allegiance to their idol led them to demand the same from others
5. Self-saving always requires doable human standards (e.g. ceremonial hand washing)
6. Self-saving also always demands judging those that fail your standards while overlooking your failures in other areas
7. Jesus refused to bend the knee to the Pharisees’ god…themselves
8. The fact that Jesus would not worship the idol of the Pharisees spelled His doom
Beloved, how would you know if you lived similarly?
How would you know if you wanted something (e.g., a great marriage, obedient children, a job, health, appreciation, acknowledgement, love, respect, etc.) too much?
Your true desires will be found to be idols if:
1. You will sin to get them, or
2. You sin when denied them
You will often be betrayed by your responses. You will know if you wanted something too much when you are denied that desire. The Pharisees were denied the approval they thought they deserved by Jesus when His disciples did not follow their “improvements” or “added protections” to the commands of God.
The Pharisees’ wanted honor so badly that they were willing to kill the Lord of grace and mercy when denied it.
Please do not underestimate what an idol will drive one to do. Self can be just such an idol. “One of the most essential elements of the spirit of this decade is that the ultimate sin is no longer the failure to honor God and thank him, but the failure to esteem oneself” ~ John Piper, 1977 (please don’t miss that date…how much more is this thought true today?!)
Beloved, the watershed want is this: Do you want to please God or God to please you?
10,000 Blessings in the Majestic,