My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, June 13, 2019
“Listen, you leaders of Israel, you men of Sodom and Gomorrah, as I call you now. Listen to the Lord. Hear what he is telling you! “I am sick of your sacrifices. Don’t bring me any more of them. I don’t want your fat rams; I don’t want to see the blood from your offerings. Who wants your sacrifices when you have no sorrow for your sins? The incense you bring me is a stench in my nostrils. Your holy celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath, and your special days for fasting—even your most pious meetings—all are frauds! I want nothing more to do with them. I hate them all; I can’t stand the sight of them. From now on, when you pray with your hands stretched out to heaven, I won’t look or listen. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear, for your hands are those of murderers; they are covered with the blood of your innocent victims” (Isaiah 1:10-15 TLB).
The auditorium was full. Singing was inspirational. Communion comments focused on the moment. The Lord’s supper served without spills or small children disturbing the decorum. The minister’s sermon was precise. His points were well made. His memory and scriptural quotes were in context, His illustrations memorable. Visitors and members were equally impressed. More than one bragged on the worship. Smiles were plentiful. Conversations everywhere. Hugs and handshakes in evidence. A satisfying worship performed in spirit and in truth. Several commented that it was just like worship as described by Luke in Acts 2 and 20. There was one missing ingredient. It was without God! How could that be?
Isaiah did not address pagans. He spoke to children of God! They were not illiterates, but well versed in divine teaching. They were in covenant relationship with Yahweh. But their worship turned Him off! Oh, they were doing everything right. If God had required two songs and a prayer, they would have performed without hesitation. If God had restricted their song book to a specific publishing company, they would have complied without debate. If they had been told to stand, when to raise their hands, or when to bow to the floor, precision would prevail. Yet, without God!
If a reporter had interviewed Isaiah’s audience, he might have worded the following questions. “Was God in your worship?” “Did you feel God’s presence while you were worshiping?” All would have responded with a forceful “Yes!” I’m positive that Isaiah’s description to their worship was met with negativism. Their response would have been, “Not guilty.” Their rebuttal? “Isaiah is delusional.” They probably thought, “How can the majority be wrong on the word of this single prophet?” Were they guilty of offering animals for sacrifice that were sick or unacceptable? No. Was the incense not offered as scripture commands? No. Were their celebrations of the new moon, Sabbath, and fasting days incorrect? No. Was it a sin to stretch out their hands when they prayed? No. Was it unscriptural to pray? No. Were their prayers worded incorrectly? No. All those things may have been done correctly as scripture dictated. Their daily actions voided their worship. God hated their hypocrisy. They may have attended their worship assembly, but God had forsaken it. A worship without God. We don’t have that problem today, do we?