Mon, 9 March 2020
(Is.1:10,16-20; Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23; Mt.23:1-12)
“To him that goes the right way
I will show the salvation of God.”
“Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.” For it is only following in the way of the Lord we shall be saved; for mere words, vain pretense, the Lord has no patience.
Indeed it is so, what Isaiah proclaims: “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.” Forgiveness is offered forth generously by the Lord to the nation that goes astray. But we must be “willing, and obey” the word “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” If we “hate discipline and cast [His] words behind” our backs, if we but “recite [His] statutes” as the Pharisees whose “works are performed to be seen,” whose mouths profess the covenant but whose deeds are far from Him, how is it we shall find salvation? For the Lord is not blind and deaf as we to the heart of man; and unlike our own, His word is true, and His command must be followed – we must serve Him and our neighbor. We must humble ourselves in His sight if we hope to be exalted to His kingdom.
“Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.” Over and over we hear from the mouth of the prophet and the psalmist and the Son Himself – the Lord has compassion on the poor and lowly, and we must do as He calls… we must be His arms and legs in this world. Unlike the Pharisees who “will not lift a finger” to carry even the lightest burden, whose “deeds are few,” we must take up the full weight of the cross. It is not “places of honor” and “marks of respect in public” for which we hunger; but when we teach and as we serve, our hearts must be set on the salvation of souls, which can only be accomplished by living the way of the Messiah, by following His example.
What has Jesus not done for us? What teaching has He left lacking flesh and blood? And so, rightly is He called “Rabbi”; and so, truly is He the only Son of the one Father in heaven. Brothers and sisters, we must go the way He leads – we must follow the humble path to the kingdom. In this our sins shall become “white as wool,” washed in the blood of the Lamb.
O LORD, let us be humble and just in your sight
that we might be saved from our sin
and enter your kingdom.
YHWH, our sins are red as crimson, but you would make them white as wool if we but listened to your Word and put it into practice. If our worship of you were genuine, then we would be truly blessed. But as it is we speak in vain when we call upon your Name. For who among us lives the way Jesus teaches, the way He walked? His chastisement let us treasure, that we might be saved from empty sacrifice.
There is so much pride within our hearts, O LORD, and in our words and actions. We desire to be exalted in the sight of others. Oh if it were but our desire to serve you! If we but sought to be humble and true, then you would raise us to be with you, in the heavenly kingdom.
O let us listen to you, LORD? Let us heed your command, your word of instruction. Let us do what is right and just in your sight and with our neighbor, and your cleansing grace we shall find.