We have had lots of problems with fruit flies lately. They are annoying as they are so hard to eliminate. Out of desperation, I sometimes put the whole basket of fruit in the refrigerator. But somehow those tiny pesky insects reappear just when I think I have seen the last of them! Recently, I put out a glass of cider vinegar and liquid detergent. Just like the article said, they were drawn to the mixture and drowned themselves in it! I am not planning on straining out those fruit flies. Losing some vinegar and liquid detergent is a small price to pay to be insect-free!
Our verse for today talks about a gnat, not a fruit fly. But the image of a tiny pesky insect is the same. The Pharisees are the blind guides that Jesus addresses. One would have to be blind not to see the difference between a gnat and a camel! The Pharisees were all about keeping every detail of the Law, including the tithe on their mint, dill and cumin. But they were ignoring the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Keeping the details of the Law had become for them a point of pride. A list of do’s and dont’s are visible to others whereas justice, mercy and faithfulness are much more intangible qualities that come from the heart. Jesus told them they were too concerned about the appearance of spirituality rather than actually being spiritual.
I can fall into this same trap myself. Outside conformity to a set of rules can mask the real state of my heart. Lord, keep me focused on a right relationship with You.