Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Did you know that has a biblical basis? Oh, I’ll get there in a bit.
I spent some time on Pastor's Sunday morning sermon, "Scribes and Pharisees," from Matthew 23. Yes - the whole chapter. And that took some additional research, beginning with verse 5.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, (Matthew 23:5 KJV)
These Phylacteries were strips of parchment, or small cubes covered with letter, on or in which were written sections of the Law (think Ten Commandments.) The concept of wearing them between comes from:
And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. (Exodus 13:9 KJV)
And again in:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (Deuteronomy 6:4-8 KJV)
Let’s hear that once more:
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: (Deuteronomy 11:18-20 KJV)
Three times our Lord mentioned having His word between the eyes of the Jewish people. Eventually it became easier for the leaders to place a physical explanation to a spiritual request. Wearing the words showed everyone that saw them how serious they were about God. Phylactaries became more and more prominent, as did their public piety. As John puts it:
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43 KJV)
If you don’t believe Jesus knew that, turn back a few pages to Luke:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (Luke 18:10-12 KJV)
Did you notice that the public didn’t pray to God, but “prayed thus with himself”?
Oh, my – I’ve rambled on with my research and didn’t get to the best part. Regrettably, you’ll need to come back tomorrow to read the first (not rest, but first) of the story.