This is a spiritual post with political implications…
When Jesus’ disciples were observed eating without washing in the ‘prescribed’ manner they were criticized by those in authority, the Pharisees.
This expectation was a tradition that not only was accepted but expected. Anyone who didn’t do so had their loyalty to God and the tradition challenged. All in all, this was not something that God expected, but people. Just because it was the established expectation did not make it right.
Jesus sharply rebuked them and their silly traditions. The mere passion behind being compelled to defend a tradition, even to the point of death, makes it worship to me.
Any tradition that you cling to the point it is revered and question the loyalty of others if they feel it’s not right for them is too close to worship for me.
And, it was apparently too much for Jesus too…
Mark 7:5-9 (NKJV)
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[a]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too well you [b]reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Jesus said they REJECTED what God has said for their traditions.
This same dangerous thinking and practice continues today. Jesus said they set aside the commandments of God for the traditions of man.
For example, one of the hottest topics, debates and disagreements today is that of people disrespecting the American flag when they choose to ‘take a knee’ in protest to police brutality towards African-American men.
Personally, I love this country and would not want to live anywhere else in the world. I had uncles fight in World War ll and had two die just months before it was over. I had other uncles return home after fighting for their country to be treated like second class citizens. I currently have relatives serving in our armed services and have many friends who are police officers.
However, ever since I was able to read the bible for myself, I have felt uncomfortable standing and putting my hand over my heart for ANY flag. There’s a reason that God forbade us to honor, worship or acknowledge Him or anything else with graven images. The fact is that all idols aren’t made of stone, some are made of cloth. Does it take doing what seems to me as worshiping an idol to prove my respect? Just because this tradition was established doesn’t make it right. After all, there is also the established expectation to put one’s right hand on the bible and swear an oath while accepting an elected office or testifying in court…this is the same bible that our Lord clearly commands that we should never swear an oath. For more on this read WHY SWEAR IN COURT WHEN GOD FORBIDS IT?
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [a]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [b]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
James 5:12 (NKJV)
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into [a]judgment.
God’s expectation can’t be any more clear than here, but still we persist in swearing-in officials. What kind of rebuke would someone suffer if he or she refused to be sworn in?
How dare person A tell person B that they aren’t loyal because person B feels a beloved tradition is in direct conflict to God’s word. In fact, person B could contend that person A’s devotion to that tradition contradicts person A’s loyalty to God.
It is not God’s will to put our love for country or anything else before our love for Him or obedience to His word.
God has given us the freedom to assume several postures in approaching Him. He allows us to kneel, stand, raise our hands, lay before Him etc. I discuss this more in the post… 9 BIBLICALLY PROPER PRAYER POSTURES… If God allows us to show respect, honor and praise for Him in several manners, who are we to demand more for ourselves or what we create?
So many of us today have become modern-day Pharisees in our expectation of others to honor the traditions that are dear to us, but are NOT requirements of God. There are many traditions and expectations that have endured for years and people have killed to defend that are in direct conflict with the word of God…hazing for example, that includes language and behavior (getting drunk, sex and violence) has become expected to become a part of many organizations and even upheld by Christians. I discuss this topic in the post THE UNHOLINESS OF HAZING: TRADITIONS FROM HELL…
Again, I love this country but I would be irresponsible as a man of God if I didn’t challenge us to reexamine some of our traditions…that’s what Jesus and His apostles did.
Remember, some idols aren’t made of stone, but cloth.
If this blessed or challenged you, I also invite you to read, IF GOD DOESN’T CONSIDER ‘TAKING A KNEE’ DISRESPECTFUL TO HIM, WHY SHOULD WE?
God bless America and…