The Lord says: “These people say they love me. They show honor to me with words. But their hearts are far from me. The honor they show me is nothing but human rules they have memorized. Isaiah 29:13
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God’s people were in rebellion. They had forgotten the one true God and instead worshiped the gods of the nations around them. In this prophecy of Isaiah, the words of God are likened to words in a book that are sealed. The man who can read doesn’t have access to it and the man who cannot read is unable to understand it.
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The minds and hearts of God’s people are far away for Him and so they are not able to understand His word. Even worst, they chose to turn their backs on Him.
Jehovah had proven Himself mighty on the behalf of the children of Israel time and again yet they failed to give Him the proper respect and honor that He deserved.
Worship in Israel became a very elaborate thing. There were feast days, specific sacrifices and burnt offerings that were made throughout the year. They celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Passover, Jubilee…There were wave offerings, sin offerings, the gift of the first fruit … But the meaning behind the rituals was gone.
The people were not celebrating the Passover because they were remembering what God had done for them in Egypt or how He had delivered them from slavery. They were not offering sacrifices because they were aware of the depth of their sin and wanted restoration in God’s eyes… They were just going through the motions.
In fact, they were so enamored with the rites that they created even more complicated rituals ascribing them to God. It was just a matter of time before they forgot to put their hearts in it.
But God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). He saw through their empty rites. He knew that they just going through the motions.
How It Applies to Us
Do we claim to serve the great Jehovah only to keep Him boxed into the corners of our lives? Do we keep God at arm’s length? Do we profess a faith that we do not live? Are we being false witnesses?
Too often we fall into the trap of confessing with our mouths what we do not truly believe in our hearts. we profess Abrahamic faith but live Jonah-esque lives. Have you done that? I have.
Prayer for Today
Great Jehovah, forgive my unbelief and increase my faith. Teach me to walk before You and to listen to Your voice. In Jesus’ name. Amen.