“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;
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.”
In this section of the book of Isaiah, the prophet delivers a word from God to the people of Israel concerning their worship of Him, or lack there of. You see the people of Israel had gotten into a bad habit of letting their worship of God become nothing but religious ritual. There lips were full of His praise but their hearts were far from Him. Their lives showed a very different story than the one they confessed with their mouths. There was un-justice, corruption, and sinfulness rampant in their midst.
So God sends Isaiah to call them to turn from their deceitful, sinful ways and repent and come back to righteous living. To come back and worship Him with true hearts, with lives fully surrendered to His will. He promises them that if they turn back to Him they will receive what is good but if they turn away and rebel, only calamity awaits.
Here is the truth of this passage, that the worship of our hearts without the love, adoration, reverence, and praise of God at the center is not worship. He does not want thoughtless rituals. Even the most grand praise means nothing to Him if our hearts are not sincere. He wants us to know Him and to truly praise and glorify His name from a place in our hearts that knows that He is the center of our worship. He wants us to know and believe that He is the God of salvation and righteousness. That He is the Triune God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end. That He is the part of our hearts that we know is missing and need Him to restore. That He is our life.
So when we worship God let us not do it from some sense of thoughtless ritual or begrudging obligation. Let us worship Him with our whole hearts in adoration of His glory and thankfulness for all that He has done for us. For all that He has seen us through. For all that He has done in us and through us. And may we see Him move in ways we have not yet seen.
May we seek to glorify Him in our lives and not just our words.
May we glorify Him in everything we say and do