“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Matthew 23: 13 – 14
This is part of a list of woes that Jesus proclaimed. ‘Woe’ means sorrow, so he’s saying ‘be sorrowful, be sad’ – he is asking the Pharisees and teachers to repent. They loved their work, studying the Old Testament and the Law of Moses, so very much that they had come to worship it instead of God. They set up so many things that had to be done, to serve God properly, that the rules stopped them seeing God. And, worse, the people who wanted to find and serve God, and who came to the Pharisees and teachers for instruction, found only the law, blocking their way.
Sometimes we get too attached to things being done properly, being done in the way we think is right, being done traditionally. But God is bigger than all laws and all teachings – the whole of creation is in God and sustained by God. We need to be careful to make God the priority and get other things into the right place in our lives.
Prayer: Father God, help me to put you first, to see the whole of my life and work the way that you see it. Help me to put things in their right place in relation to you and show me when I have become more attached to a thing or a custom than you. Amen
Action: when you’re out for your exercise today, look at something that you don’t like, and ask yourself ‘how does God see this’. Make a note of what you think and feel about it.