This camel looks a little ridiculous and undignified when really they are magnificent animals! They can carry 200 extra pounds and travel 20 miles a day. Camels can drink 40 gallons of water at a time and can eat anything without injuring their mouths. They can close their nostrils against wind and sand, and store energy in their humps in the form of fat. But one thing they are unable to do. They cannot be swallowed whole!
In today’s verse 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 larger and more important matters of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness. Keeping the details of the Law had become for them a point of pride as details of the Law were visible to others. Justice, mercy and faithfulness were intangibles and frankly, more difficult to follow.
I am afraid that sometimes I am just as guilty of this in my Christian walk. I tend to use an accepted set of rules as a shortcut to spirituality. I know the right words. I can follow routine. I can look like I have my act together. Outside conformity to a set of rules can mask the real state of my heart. But the Lord knows when my thoughts towards others are harsh instead of merciful. He sees when I excuse myself but no one else. And of course He knows when my heart is unfaithful.
Lord, keep my heart close to Yours.