Thursday, 04 January 2018
We continue forward in our Matthew 23 passage to the next question concerning hypocrisy: Do we desire the applause of men?
In verses 5-7, we find, "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries, and lengthen their tassels of their garments. And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the marketplaces and being called by men, Rabbi."
The charge is that these men liked being called Rabbi, liked the applause of men, liked being seen and noticed and recognized by their peers and subjects. These phylacteries were small boxes inscribed with text from God's law that were worn on the arms or fastened on the foreheads. They would fill them up, showing off their scripture memory for all to see how religious and holy they were. The tassels referred to here were prescribed by scripture and were worn on the outer corners of their clothes. They made them longer and longer to show their authority and importance. So Jesus is exposing them for drawing attention to themselves instead of to God.
The challenge to us today is to consider, don't answer too quickly, are we content with the approval of God? This is the main thought. For if we are not content and satisfied with God's approval then we are naturally going to seek the approval of man. There are only two options. The deadly and catastrophic thing about the applause of men is once you receive it your flesh enjoys it and you want it more and more. This results in less contentment with God's approval. The scriptures tell us to be content with God's gracious smile toward us and his favor on our hearts in Christ that we are dead to what men say to or about us.
Let us pray today, that we really have an attitude that only, mostly, above all others is concerned with what God is approved of in my life. The appeal and praise of man is fleeting and self-gratifying. The approval of God is everlasting and influential. Hypocrisy takes the good things and makes them desires to be noticed and seen. Humility takes the approval of God the Father and lets our light shine and our good works glorify the Father.