He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die’...But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” — Matthew 15:3-4, 18
While Jesus’ response to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:1-20 reminds us of the responsibility we have to honor our parents, it also highlights God’s perspective on His own commandments on how we should worship Him.
The Pharisees chided Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands in the traditional way; to which Jesus responded by exposing their disregard for God’s commandments. It’s hypocritical to profess to live for God and to claim to care about Him if we elevate tradition above God and His revealed will in Scripture.
I wonder how many times and in how many ways we trivialize what God calls us to, thinking that we can offer up to him offerings, service, or even sacrifice that will make up for disobedience.
God’s priorities are clarified for us, just as they were for King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22: to obey is better than sacrifice. If you love Him, keep His commandments. That’s the best place to start.