Guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

Advent Devotion 08

9th December 2020


What do we rely on for security and guidance in our daily lives?

Today’s Old Testament passage Isaiah 31 reads in part:

“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots?
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord……
Like birds hovering overhead,
the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 

The New Testament passage Matthew 15:1-20 reads in part; 

“Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” …
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.
Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

The clear message that runs through these passages is the clear challenge that faces all of us believers namely; “Where to put our consistent honest allegiance in our daily walk in our journey of faith, and where we put our full trust for help in time of great need. God’s messenger Isaiah, is trying to warn Israel against focusing their trust on Egypt, their traditional human allies for ultimate help instead of focusing on God’s ultimate help at a time when they felt vulnerable to the lingering threat of great attack by enemy forces. Jesus Christ also challenges the teacher of the law against focusing their allegiance to the letter of their traditional law instead of trusting and putting in practice God’s grace and love contained in the law. This did not lead them to be sincere but led them to be selective in practicing the letter of the law and failing to heed the same traditional laws that exercise God’s regular loving care including consistent care for their parents and help in emergency.

In our traditional societies, it is tempting to go back and focus on our traditions and traditional beliefs for our daily journey of faith and similarly in our modern societies to focus on our culture of the day, scientific and financial advances rather than focus our allegiance and trust in our Almighty God and what He teaches in the Bible. All leading to the same “hypocrisy” condemned by our Lord Jesus. God’s call remains the same; “Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against.  Isaiah 31:6.


“Forgive our hypocrisy Lord and strengthen our focus on you for help even in great need. Grant that in our day to day lives we may be guided by the light of your word written, for the glory of your Name” Amen.

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