Mark 7:1-8, “One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles. So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
The Pharisees and teachers of the law had been given the commands, statutes and teachings of God, but seemed to miss the whole point. Their adaptation of the law had become empty, hollow and heartless. We are given a solemn warning that if we are not careful, we can fall into this same trap. It is easy to settle into a routine and focus on schedules and to-do-lists. Although we don’t mean for it to happen, the voice of God can get drowned out by these distractions. Let this time of prayer and fasting disrupt the regular patterns of life. Make time to meditate on God’s Word and listen to His Voice. Pray for clarity where you have confusion and that you would hear clearly the voice of God.
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