Psalm of the Day: Psalm 66
Wisdom of the Day: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:1-5
We should notice in this passage what excessive importance hypocrites attach to trifles. The Pharisees did not find fault with the disciples eating. It was an action sanctioned by the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 23:25). The supposed fault was the breach of the fourth commandment. They had done work on the Sabbath, by taking and eating a handful of food.
This exaggerated zeal of the Pharisees did not extend to other plain commandments of God. These very men pretended such strictness on one little point, were more than lax and indifferent about other points of infinitely greater importance. While they stretched the commandment about the Sabbath beyond its true meaning, they openly trampled on the tenth commandment, and were notorious for covetousness (Luke 16:14).
But this is precisely the character of the hypocrite. He uses one portion of Scripture that he prefers, but ignores portions of Scripture that are less convenient to him. To use our Lord's illustration, in some things he fusses about something as small as a gnat in his cup, while ignoring the camel he just swallowed (Matthew 23:24).
It is a bad symptom of any man's state of soul when he begins to ignore the portions of Scripture he does not like and preach only the once he prefers. Let us beware of falling into this state of mind. There is something sadly wrong in our spiritual condition when we are hung up on outward Christianity, and forget that God sees the heart. The Pharisees' hearts were vile, but they were considered great men by society.
The moment we begin to place anything in religion before the whole counsel of the Word of God, we are in danger of becoming like the Pharisees as the accusers of the disciples.
Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord, help me not to be a hypocrite and raise small opinions over your law.
Action Plan: Do I spend more time studying God's Word and know it, or arguing over the little details and preferences I like? Do I hold people to my own standard instead of God's?
This devotional was taken from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle published in 1858
and adapted by Pastor Tim Lewis of New England Shores Baptist Church.