Looking for Loopholes in God’s Law
My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return. Genesis 50:5
For God commanded, “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.” But you say, “If anyone tells his father or his mother, ‘What you would have gained from me is given to God,’ he need not honor his father.” So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. Matthew 15:4-6
Joseph had promised to bury his father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan. Upon his father’s death, Joseph asked Pharaoh for permission to return to Canaan and fulfill his commitment to Jacob. Permission was granted and Jacob fulfilled his promise.
Honoring one’s parents is the right thing to do both in life and at death. God’s law given later through Moses specified that all were to, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). There was a reward of long life held out to those who kept this commandment. Conversely, there is an implied threat of early death for not keeping it.
Yet in Jesus’ day, certain religious leaders gutted the original intent of that commandment. They advocated the practice of withholding support to needy parents by designating resources as “given to God.” Jesus told His contemporaries that they were using their tradition to make God’s word void. They had added tradition on top of the law giving them a seeming loophole to disobey clear commandments.
In a different context but in a similar spirit, the writers of the Westminster Confession of Faith warned those who because of the corruption of man are “apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder” their marriage vows for unlawful reasons (WCF Ch. 24 paragraph 6).
Think about it
Beware of seeking ways to skirt the clear teaching of God’s Word. Avoid the ungodly practice of those who “study arguments to unduly” break God’s law. Yet the good news remains that Christ died for the disobedient loopholes-seeker who repents. Trust Him for forgiveness and trust Him for strength and wisdom to walk in obedience to His Word.