This morning, in my reading of Isaiah, I came across a passage of Scripture that told of God’s rejection of Israel’s sacrifices, feasts, and worship. They were honoring God with their lips, but their actions proved that their hearts were far from Him (this is actually said later in Isaiah, and Jesus quoted it when rebuking the Pharisees). That really got me thinking! If God didn’t accept their incense, or sacrifices, or feasts, why do we think that showing up to church, invoking God’s name over all of our decisions, wearing T-shirts that say “blessed,” listening to Christian music, or trying to have everything surrounding God while living unholy lives will somehow earn His favor? God has not changed. He desires His people to be Holy, and He did not send His Son to die so that we could continue as we have been, but with Christian attached to us as a title. Many of us treat Marriage as profane, trading spouses like one trades in vehicles: getting rid of one when it stops working the way we want it to; God ordained Marriage! Many of us ignore the needs of others, because we’re too busy, or they’ve burned us too much, or we have some preconceived judgement about what placed them in their position; God told us to care for the widow and the Orphan (in essence, those who cannot care for themselves). Many of us still live worldly lives while claiming to follow Jesus; yet the Word tells us that to be a friend of the world is to make an enemy out of God. If you follow Jesus, you’re called to holiness (not holier than thou, but right standing and right living with God!). This is not to say we won’t mess up, we will. This is not to say we won’t fail, we will. This is to say that we are to do the very best with everything we have and in every circumstance we’re in to live rightly with God and to follow Jesus’ example. God calls His people to Holiness; He always has! He requires it of us. We can’t be lights of the world if we’re living in darkness. When God doesn’t accept our worship, when His blessing seems far from us, we must examine ourselves and ask if we’re being self-centered or holy. It is only when we’re living according to His will that we see His peace abundantly in our lives. Isaiah 1:10-20
Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
“When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”