Sunday, August 15, 2021

Fence Laws

When I was a small boy, my mother worried about me running into the street, so my parents put up a fence around our yard. The day after it was installed, my mom looked out the window and saw me climbing over the fence! The fence, which was meant to keep me in the yard, only increased my desire to get out.

In Jesus’ day, the religious Pharisees thought the best way to keep people from breaking God’s Law was to build a fence around that Law, even though the Lord never told them to do this. They invented 1,500 additional man-made restrictions called “fence laws” to keep people from sinning.

God said, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8) and told them to not work on that day. The Pharisees felt it necessary to define “work,” so they created 39 categories of prohibited work to prevent people from breaking the Sabbath. Here are just four of the fence laws:

   You could not spit on the Sabbath because it would disturb the dust on the ground, making you guilty of plowing. Jesus purposely violated this fence law by spitting on the ground and making mud to put on the blind man’s eyes (John 9:6) 
   You could not swat a fly because you would be guilty of hunting.
    A woman could not look at her reflection because she might see a gray hair and pluck it out, which would be doing work.
    You couldn’t carry “a burden.” They defined a burden as anything you couldn’t carry on your little finger. Jesus healed a lame man on the Sabbath and told him to take up his pallet, violating this fence law (John 5:8-10). He told the Pharisees, “You weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers” (Luke 11:46).

The people became so burdened down trying to keep these 1,500 regulations that they dreaded the Sabbath day. God intended it to be a day of rest, but it became a day of misery. If you are burdened down in your spiritual life and not enjoying your relationship with God, it may be because you’re following legalist rules rather than following God’s Spirit.

The Christian life is not about fences, but about Christ. And just to make sure you don’t get burdened down, He said, “My burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).
CLICK HERE to learn more about the stupid rules of the Pharisees.
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett