1 Kings 8:22-23.27-30
In the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, not in heaven above nor on earth beneath is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your kindness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way. Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built! Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, O Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, “My name shall be there.” Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place.
‘Hear the entreaty of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.’
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:
This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me.
The worship they offer me is worthless,
the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.
You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’
Train me, Lord, to observe your law, to keep it with my heart.
I often wonder what does God expect of us as believers to do in order for us to be one with Him. It appears that sometimes we are called to just adhere to certain rules and everything will be fine. However, I believe that the way to go about this is to remember that God and us must enter into a relationship and not just a transaction. Anybody in a relationship will testify to the need to listen to one another in order for anything meaningful to transpire.
We can only deepen this relationship if we can realise that we need to listen to God. Listening to God entails that we remain silent and listen to Him speak to us in the Bible, in the silence and sometimes in the views and opinions of others whom we meet and encounter. It certainly is not easy to be able to discern the voice of God but it is necessary for us to realise that hearing God speak is just as important as speaking to Him.
Only if we remain silent can we discover what it means to love God and put Him in the centre of our lives. We are created in the image and likeness of God and hence we should aim to radiate the image that we are to all around us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord may we show to others the love that You have shown us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who bring God’s love to those around them.