Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Paul makes two primary points about the Israelites here, and the ways in which many of the Jewish religious leaders missed the mark in terms of how they approached their relationship with God. First off, although they seemed very passionate about God, their passion and zeal for Him just wasn’t based on the truth of who God was. Second, Paul remarks that these religious leaders sought to establish what they thought was right, instead of submitting to and trusting in what God said was right, and what God’s plan was. On closer inspection, these two things have a common root, either not understanding or refusing to acknowledge who God is and what He has to say.
How can we avoid falling into the same error that the Pharisees fell into; corporately, individually and within our families? We’re already doing it! Faithfully spending time studying His Word and allowing that Word to transform us is so key here! A.W. Tozer once said, “We must do more than just believe the truth; we must allow the truth to transform us radically into new creatures in Christ.” This challenges me! How often do I faithfully seek to understand God’s Word and His ways? How often do I seek to measure all things to the truth of His Word, to ensure that I’m following in His way, and not my own? How often do I lay aside what might seem or feel good or right to me, based on what God has to say in Scripture?
Lord, thank You for Your Word in the Bible. Thank You that You designed every intricate part of me, and that You know what is best for me, based on Your unfailing love and unending wisdom. Help me to understand You more and more each day, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Word is alive, filled to the brim with life-giving and soul-satisfying truth.