Beware of Veering Off Course
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 5-7; Mark 12:1-27
29 Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever! Deuteronomy 2:29
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? Mark 12:24
The Lord took delight in the initial enthusiasm of the Israelites for His law. They indicated a commitment to be faithful and obedient, but God knew their resolve would not last. They would be drawn away by pagan gods and pagan peoples. Their hearts would not remain steadfast to fear Yahweh and to keep all His commandments. They would risk deprivation rather than believe God.
The Sadducees in Jesus’ day went off track for two reasons. They didn’t know the Scriptures, and they didn’t know the power of God. Why did they not know the Scriptures? The Sadducees were known for disregarding any supernatural incidents in the Old Testament. They did not count on God’s power or intervention in human history. Since they assumed nothing supernatural was possible, they also assumed that the resurrection was impossible. Their question was designed to ridicule the idea of a resurrection by creating a dilemma for Jesus.
We know how that ended. The Sadducees came out looking foolish because Jesus used the Pentateuch (which they held to) to prove their position untenable. God is God of the living. To God those who have died physically in this world are still alive to Him and always will be. The resurrection is true and Jesus Himself would prove it.
The ancient Israelites veered off from obedience to God because they replaced the fear of the Lord with fascination for other gods. The Sadducees veered off from knowledge of the Scriptures and lost belief in the power of God. They trusted their own minds and their own five senses to arrive at truth.
These sorts of spiritual maladies abound today. Let it not be said of us that our hearts were not wholly the Lord’s or that we failed to know His Word and His power.