Bible Study & Devotional (Day 34)
Guiding Scripture: Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
🔴 Don’t Neglect the Weightier Matters!
By Detria Moore
We refer to Matthew 23 as the “Seven Woes.” Seven times throughout this chapter, Jesus begins a statement with, “Woe to you….” In the Hebrew language, a woe is a primary exclamation of grief. Verse 23 marks the fourth of the seven woes mentioned in this chapter.
Talking directly to the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus calls them out for tithing mint, dill, and cumin, but for also neglecting the more important matters. Notice there’s no condemnation for their practice of tithing. In fact, they were commanded to tithe oil, grain, wine, fruit, animals, etc.
The Pharisees extended this law practice to even the tiniest of herbs, like mint, dill, and cumin. No problem! Except they neglected the more important matters- justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
That all amounts to a heart issue.
In the earlier verses of chapter 23, Jesus tells the disciples to do and observe what the Pharisees say, but not the works they do. Why? The Pharisees were hypocrites. They would pat themselves on the back for tithing on more than the requirement but did not behave with compassion.
So often, we try to take the extra good we’re doing in one area as a means to cover other areas where we are lacking, negligent, or just downright disobedient. You can’t tithe more as a means to avoid showing justice, mercy, and faithfulness. And it’s not one or the other. Do both! Jesus tells them they should have tithed the herbs without neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Samuel told Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22 that obedience is better than sacrifice.
To be obedient to God means we have to obey ALL commandments. It isn’t easy.
- What if showing justice means I have to be a catalyst for change?
- What if showing mercy means I have to forgive someone who seriously wronged me?
- What if God asks me to be faithful to something that I simply don’t understand?
And I love how Jesus relates justice, mercy, and faithfulness to the law; by referring to them as the weightier matters of the law. These were not new values. These were values the Pharisees should have recognized from the law. Tying these values back to the law showed that the Pharisees were without excuse.
Lord, when our vision is distorted, and we can’t administer justice to all in a fair manner, may we ask for Your clarity. When our flesh doesn’t want to forgive, to show mercy, may we ask for Your strength?
When doubt and uncertainty creep in, please help us increase our faith. Nothing can replace being fully obedient to God. May we live a life where justice, mercy, and faithfulness are just as important to us as they are to You, in Jesus’ name.
This devotional was submitted by Detria Moore, a loving contributor to Our Given Purpose. Edited by Torrie Slaughter the founder of Our Given Purpose® in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Connect with Detria Moore at www.detriamoore.com
Detria Moore, J.D. is a believer, wife, mother, college professor, intercessor, community servant, writer, speaker, and volunteer of all things. Above all else, she is enamored with her Savior. Her main goal is to serve the Lord, walk in a manner worthy of her calling, and bring glory to her Savior. Detria enjoys reading and teaching the Bible, praying for others, and walking the Lynchburg trails.