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Daily Reading: Leviticus 19:1-20:21 ESV, Mark 8:11-38 ESV, Psalm 42:1-11 ESV, Proverbs 10:17 ESV

Daily Verse: “The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.” (Mark 8:11 ESV)

PHARISAIOS (5330): “Signifies to separate, owing to a different manner of life from that of the general public.  The Pharisees and Sadducees appear as distinct parties in the latter half of the 2nd cent. B.C.  The Hasidaens, a transcription of the Hebrew chasidim, i.e., “pious ones,” were a society of men zealous for religion, who acted under the guidance of scribes.  The strictly legal party among the Jews, and were ultimately the more popoulare and influential party.[i]

Pious ones.

Pharisees separated themselves from others with their purity.  Because the religious leaders studied and learned the Jewish laws, Pharisees considered themselves above the average man.  Since they enforced the law, the Pharisees placed themselves above the law.  Then Jesus came along and turned everything upside down. 

Jesus understood, even if He performed a sign for the Pharisees, they wouldn’t believe it.  Miracles don’t soften hearts; they measure them.  The Pharisees non-belief made them blind to Jesus’ power.  Moses performed miraculous events for Pharoah, but they didn’t soften the ruler’s heart, not until God softened it.

Pray for soft hearts.

The Pharisee’s hearts became hardened because they were obsessed with the law.  Ruling over people gave them a god complex.  Jesus pointed them to the one true God,  threatening their delicate balance.

In today’s world, hearts become hardened unintentionally.  Loss of loved ones, divorce, layoffs, and financial struggles cause pain.  God seems distant and uninterested in your sufferings.  Clinging to God, keeping your heart soft towards Him, requires prayer.

“Keep my heart soft. Soften theirs,” my go-to prayer when I start feeling Pharisitcal. As humans, we all judge, sometimes like a Pharisee.  Becoming aware of our shortcomings helps us deal realistically with life.  Pray for soft hearts.  Change the world one prayer at a time.

[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 262) Thomas Nelson

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