Fido

SEPTEMBER 25

MATTHEW 7:6_Give not that which is holy unto dogs…

Generally, Bible references to dogs are not as we consider dogs today. They are not referred to as a companion, or man’s best friend, or a service animal. That is not to say they were not all those things, but that is not how they are referred to in the Bible. Their references are on the rougher side, like: a prostitute, or licking up blood, or returning to vomit.

Need some evidence? Deuteronomy 23:18 (KJV), “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore [female prostitute], or the price of a dog [male prostitute], into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”  I Kings 21:19 (KJV), “… And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.’”  Proverbs 26:11 (KJV), “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” 

These are all rather graphic, but my point is to show that Jesus is not talking about Fido in this verse. Dogs here are something base, low-life, and well, disgusting.

Don’t go thinking Jesus doesn’t like dogs – after all, He created them. And don’t go chasing Fido out of your yard. He is not what is referred to here. 

Dogs aren’t the only animal used as a negative illustration. Don’t miss tomorrow!

PRAYER

Only Wise God, There is so much to understand about life—give me wisdom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

 Christ understands principles of life—He teaches me!

Jesus Gives Back Life

SEPTEMBER 24

MATTHEW 7:5_and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Only the Pharisees and Jesus knew why they did not bring the man to their stoning party. Perhaps the woman had been lured into a carefully planned trap? We don’t know. But regardless of the circumstances of the event, we know this—she left that day free. 

She was guilty. She stood before powerful figures who could lawfully execute her, but she walked away unharmed. Those powerful figures were unable to complete their scheme because their own hearts condemned them. The Pharisees’ guilt hit them squarely in the face and there was nothing they could do but walk away.

When Jesus sent the woman away He said to her “go, and sin no more.” Those who want to look at this as Jesus excusing adultery miss the mark. Jesus didn’t excuse anything—He freed a woman from bondage. He gave her back her life with instruction to live it differently in the future. From the day we receive Jesus into our hearts, He does the same thing for each of us.

He was also pointing out one more thing. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was so great it overshadowed the sin of the woman. She walked away free, and they guilty.           

PRAYER

Lord of All,                                                                                                              

You have given me life and set me free—praise Your name! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ gives back life to the lost—He says sin no more!

Convicting Power

SEPTEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

There were some missing parts of John 8 in our September 19 devotional. Let’s read them now: “6 … But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

I can’t help but see some humor in this. Knowing their hearts and the hypocrisy of the entire incident, Jesus ignored them. Perhaps He hoped that if He ignored them they would go away. No such luck. Since they wouldn’t go away, Jesus addressed them, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’”

Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head! Jesus sent conviction directly to their hard hearts.

Wouldn’t you love to know what He was writing – I would! Perhaps He was writing the man’s name. Maybe the man was even … a Pharisee! One thing is for certain, the Scribes and Pharisees cared nothing about the woman and intended for this to end in her death. She was only a pawn in their game to ensnare Jesus.

Regardless of what He wrote, it had enough convicting power to cause them to drop their stones and walk away. 

The religious leaders blew their whole scheme. They were the ones humiliated before the crowd in the temple, not Jesus.        

One last teaching about this lesson – tomorrow!

PRAYER

True Shepherd,  Lead me to the place of freedom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.  

Christ is the True Shepherd—He defends me against evil!

Heavy Bondage

SEPTEMBER 22

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

The Scribes and Pharisees could not see or perceive as Jesus did. What Jesus saw in the heart of the adulteress woman was a mote in comparison to the judgmental beam in the hearts of the religious leaders. It was Jesus they were judging, far more than the woman.

Jesus did not set a precedent for a Get Out of Jail Free card for adultery. Remember, Jesus is about finding freedom! Adultery is heavy bondage. 

The Scribes and Pharisees were correct about their guilty verdict – adultery did carry a death sentence. However, there is a major flaw in their sanctimonious condemnation. AKA hypocrisy. Where was the man?

The law the Scribes and Pharisees were so anxious to have Jesus  enforce is found in Leviticus 20:10 (KJV), “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The only way she could be an adulteress was if she were married. If she was not, the man could consider her as a prostitute, or use her any way he wished. If this were all about law enforcement, seems that something is missing. 

Instead of answering their accusations, Jesus began to play around in the sand.     

We’re not through yet – keep following!

PRAYER

True God, Help me know You never want me in bondage—Free me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ does not make bondage easy – He frees!  

The Bottom Line

SEPTEMBER 21

MATTHEW 7:5_Thou hypocrite…

Jesus knew two things in the incident of the woman taken in adultery. He knew the condition of her heart now, and in her past. He knew the circumstances which led to this incident at this time. We can’t expect our earthly authorities to know all of this, but the Holy Spirit can reveal truth. Besides the fact that He knew her heart, Jesus had the ability to read her heart in her facial expressions and body language. 

There was something else Jesus knew – the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees who brought her before Him. He knew more about them than they knew about each other, or even about themselves. Remember John 8:5-6 (KJV), “ ‘Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such [adulterers] should be stoned: but what sayest thou?’ This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him …”

Jesus understood the real purpose for the Scribes and Pharisees bringing the woman. It had nothing to do with justice of the Law. It had nothing to do with adultery.  The bottom line was to bring Jesus down. At the time this occurred, Jesus was in the temple teaching. The Pharisees’ goal was to cause Jesus to look ignorant before the multitude of followers who sat at His feet.

If Jesus were a true God-fearing Jew, He would uphold the Law. If He didn’t enforce the Law, then everyone in the temple that day would know Jesus was a heretic.

We’re not finished with this subject yet!

PRAYER

Father God, Help me become discerning of the hearts of others. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

 Christ knows true hearts from false—He helps mine!