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Looking for Loopholes in God’s Law

Today’s reading: Genesis 49-50; Matthew 15:1-20

5 ‘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

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. 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, the original intent of that commandment had been effectively annulled through the practice of withholding support to needy parents by designating resources as “given to the Lord.” Jesus told His contemporaries,

4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 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

Beware of seeking loopholes in obeying God’s Word, but we have done so and we do fail to fully keep His commandments. For disobedient, loophole seekers Christ died. Trust Him for forgiveness and trust Him for strength and wisdom to walk in obedience to His Word.

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