Does God care about outward things? November 5, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, God, Jesus, Religion, Theology.
In Exodus, it is written that God instructed Aaron and his sons to wash their hands and feet when they approach the altar to minister so that they would not die.
Exodus 30:17-21 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; When they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the LORD. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.”
God tried to kill Moses for not circumcising his son.
Exodus 4:24-26a At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the LORD let him alone.
In a very disturbing passage, God forbids physically challenged priests from offering food to him and so as not to “desecrate [his] sanctuary.”
Leviticus 21:17-24 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy.
These are just a few examples. Throughout the Old Testament, God is portrayed as being consumed with outward things.
Then Jesus came and set the record straight.
Matthew 15:16-20 Listen to what I say and try to understand. You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do. Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes out of the body. But evil words come from and evil heart and defile the person who says them. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you and make you unacceptable to God!
In Matthew 23, he states:
How terrible it is for the teachers of religious law that are careful to tithe on even the tiniest part of their income but they ignore the important things- justice, mercy, and faith.
How terrible it is for the teachers of religious law that are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence! They try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside their hearts are filled with hypocrisy.
Matthew 12:7 sums up his thoughts on the subject:
They need to learn the meaning of this Scripture, “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices.”
Of course, the New Testament also contains a few verses that seem to lean towards the Old Testament view of the importance of outward things especially when it comes to women.
However, in Galatians, Paul was “astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all” because of the tendency of these early believers to revert to focusing on outward things.
The bottom line is that it is the state of our heart that’s the issue. I do not believe God cares if you wear shoes in his presence or not. He wants us to be kind, merciful and compassionate.
In 1 Samuel 16:7, it states:
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”