Daily D – Mark 10:2-4
Mark 10:2-4 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” “What did Moses command you?” he replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
This chapter has a couple of modern staples in it. First, we see the ultra-religious come to Jesus seeking a ruling to trap him in his words. They wanted to discredit him. Their question had to do with divorce.
Here is how it worked out. The trappers set the trap. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
There were two main opinions plus stipulations. The trappers waited for Jesus to stumble into either of the traps they laid out for him. Jesus did not take the bait. Instead, he returned to basic, foundational truth. He got to the heart of the matter with a four-word question: “What did Moses command you?”
The trap snapped. However, it caught the catchers. The trappers were trapped in their own device. Their response?
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
Before we take a look at what Jesus said next, notice the two big ideas on the table. One is the kind of command from God chiseled in stone. The other is a permission slip. Which do you think bears the greater weight? Which do you think has the greater force?
Jesus took those who sought to school him to school. Here is the first part of his reply (verses 5-9):
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Taking the easy way isn’t the easy way. Stop waving permission slips where God speaks words of truth and life. Yes, there is more, much more to this particular discussion than is summed up and wrapped with this pretty little bow. Even so, let us make our rulings based on bedrock and not sand.
Read on in this chapter and we see another issue arise where some guys tried to cut some corners. Take a look at verse 35:
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
Before we are too hard on the Thunder Brothers, let us remind ourselves of times we have prayed, or wanted to pray, like they did. “Dear Jesus, do for me whatever I want.”
Sitting here in this moment full of pious indignation at Jimmy and Johnny, we might well forget those times when we acted like they did. Jesus sums up the problem with their prayer again with a simple seven-word statement in verse 38:
“You don’t know what you are asking.”
This could be a big part of why we feel like God does not answer our prayers. If we knew what we were asking, we might ask differently. Perhaps, then, we should think before we pray. We should align our thoughts with God’s thinking. We should attune our hearts to God’s desires. A good way to do this is to pray Bible prayers.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. This means pondering the words and phrases of these prayers and turning them into our own. It means beginning with who God is. King David the grown-up sheepherder called him, My Shepherd. Jesus the Son of God called him, Our Father. He included us in his selection of the word Our.
Maybe we should know what we are asking and it should be God’s highest and best for all concerned. “When we pray God’s Word, someone has well said, “we pray God’s will.” This simple statement is true when we rightly understand and apply God’s words of truth and life.
Taking the easy way isn’t the easy way. We need to know God’s Word and God’s will and base our life decisions and prayers on them. We need to move from permission slip theology to words written by God in tablets of stone.
I will stop trying to get my way from God and start doing his will his way.
Our Father, your will, your way. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.