“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne. – Matthew 23:13-22 (NLT)
Jesus attacks extrabiblical traditions the Jewish leaders set upon the rest of the nation. These extra laws to follow include what a binding oath really is and how to avoid doing something you swear you will do. These extra biblical traditions burdened the rest of the population and caused a hyper legalism in the Pharisee ranks by devoting them to rules instead of to God. This devotion to legal rules ultimately wound up taking them away from God. Sometimes, what is intended for good purposes ends up driving a wedge between us and God.
What drives you away from God? In your quiet time today take time to really connect with the Triune God. Thank him. Write down your favorite verse(s) and praise him for its truth. Ask him if there is anything in the way of your relationship with him. Sit silently and listen for the answer.