Daily Devotional: Psalms 78:32-39
32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. 33 So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror. 34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again. 35 They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. 36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues; 37 their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. 38 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. 39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Jesus told his followers to listen to what the Pharisees said but do not do what they do. While teaching the truth on many things, they were lacking in the basic qualities of life that showed they belonged to God. They were strict in keeping the law but short in love. They emphasized obedience to the exclusion of mercy and compassion. They interpreted the law in a way to make themselves look more righteous than others around them. So, Jesus said they were hypocrites.
This is not just a Jewish problem. Throughout the writings of Paul, he warns about being self-deceived. He encourages that we live in a way to show Christ in our lives and to set an example for others to follow. While he never negates the urgency and necessity of obedience to the will of God, he equally emphasizes the importance of love, compassion and mercy. John says that our love is not to be just in what we say but in what we do for others. We are to be holy as God is holy.
Heavenly Father, God and ruler of the universe, creator of life and all things that exists, it is with deep humility that I come before you with my thoughts, petitions and my praise. Yet, as your child I know I have access to your throne through Jesus your Son and my Savior. Thank you for loving me and showing me how to love others. I want to open my heart to the bidding and molding of your Spirit so I can become more like you each day. But it seems the more I come to know you and the closer I get to you, the more I realize how far I am from being like you. Forgive me and give me strength to serve you. I pray in the name of Jesus my Lord.