The Jews were slaves to the law, the Gentiles were formerly slaves to idols. (Jeremiah 10:5.).
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
Illustration: When you have a crush on a girl/boy in High school and you don't think they even know who you are. Them one day he/she says hello to you by name as he/she walks by your locker.
It's one thing to know God, but to be known by God means so much more. It means there is a relationship, where each of you grow in knowledge of each other.
Paul is trying to understand how the Galatians can know God and be known by God, yet turn back toward the weak and miserable forces. Paul is referring to the forces that cause us to struggle with temptation.
If we know Jesus and know that He knows us, we will enjoy Him, and push the controlling idols aside. This is done by giving up control to Him through prayer and scripture, rather then believing that we can be in control (this is the false belief the weak and miserable forces offer).
They observe special days, yet are struggling in their relationship with God. Paul is concerned that they are falling into legalism rather then genuine faith through grace.
Legalism produces shallow Christians with little true relationship with God. So Paul feels that if this is where they are heading, he has wasted his time.
This is the most personal and emotional section of Paul's letter. He takes an urgent tone, which is reflected in the word "plead".
"Become like me" for "I became like you" is simply Paul pointing out that He lives free from idols and the law. The Gentiles were never under the law, this is how Paul became like them. Free of the law.
We don't know what aliment Paul is talking about in verse 13, but we do know that it was because of this aliment that Paul diverted off of the plan and ended up in Galatia. The point is Paul came to them a sick man, they could have treated him poorly, but they welcomed him into their hearts.
It seems that this welcoming loving people of Galatia had changed. In verse 15 Paul questions the change. Living life by following a legalistic path leads to the loss of joy and blessing.
Paul's plea for them is to return back to their loving, welcoming ways. To turn back to Jesus rather then a system of law and idols. He is pleading with them to live their life by the grace that has been given to them.
Paul is referring to the Jews who are trying to have the Galatians follow the rules of the law, in order to be Christian. They were the modern day legalists.
To be zealous meant to admired or commend someone. Paul was pointing out that "those people" were only out for themselves. They wanted the recognition.
This takes form in our churches today, when people make a leader their God. It also takes form in legalistic ways, where people want to be noticed or important in church, so they do certain things so they look better then others. Sometimes they take positions in the church because of it's importance instead of being gifted and called to it. (1 Cor. 1:12) Paul reminds us to follow Jesus not people.
Paul's reference to birth pains simply means that he feels like they are starting over again. Paul needs to lead them back to Christ because they have fallen into following weak and miserable principles.
Paul wants nothing more then to restore their joy in Christ again. This would develop Christ fully in their lives.
Paul is "perplexed" by them. The word "perplexed" literally unable to go in any direction; having nowhere to turn. Essentially it reads like this: I have no idea how to deal with you, I am at my wits' end.
Paul wants nothing but Christ for the churches in Galatia, he loves them and wants them to experience the freedom of Christ just like he does.
This section of Galatians is Paul plea for them to live their lives by the grace of Jesus Christ.
We all have a choice in life. Do we want to be free, and live our live "known by God" or do we want to fall back into idolatry and legalism, which leads to nothing.
Big Idea: Living our lives through the grace of Jesus Christ brings us joy and freedom. Placing our trust in a system or a person won't bring freedom, only more slavery.