Archive for July 10th, 2017

If you’re following this study all the way through you’ll see over the last couple of days and the next few that Isaiah had a lot of “Woe-ing” going on. It was very probably an uncomfortable position to be in addressing these wayward people on behalf of God. It’s very clear from these passages that God was not happy with their behaviour or their attitude to Him.

Ariel means ‘lion of God’ or ‘hearth of God’. It’s a clear reference to Jerusalem the centre of the Jewish faith. Jerusalem was the most important place of worship for the Jewish people. It was where the main temple was situated and it was the one place where the people should have been particularly attentive to their relationship with God because He had chosen it. The problem was that they weren’t behaving as they should have been. They’d drifted into a form of worship that focussed on words ritual and observance of the law rather than relationship with God. In verse 13 God declares, “These people come near me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” In other words they had become religious but they’d forgotten what worship was all about.

One of the great dangers in church life is that we fall into the trap where our tradition and practice becomes more important than the God we worship. So we defend the way our Sunday worship looks and feels. We refuse to alter the language that’s used despite the obvious changes in our culture that take place over time. So we end up devoting ourselves to the business of defending the practice of religion while we busily side-line God.

On a personal level it’s also very easy to remember to read the Bible regularly and pray often without paying attention to the things we read or listening to anything God might want to say to us. But the habits become important parts of our routine and we consider ourselves holy because we do them. We no longer make animal sacrifices to atone for our sins, Jesus dealt with that for us on the cross, so our sacrifices are intended to be the quality time we spend with God and that’s more than just being in the habit of doing it.

We must be on our guard against the spirit of religiousness. God does not need religious people He needs people who worship Him and listen to what He has to say.

 

 

 

 

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Help me Father to be attentive to you, to put aside the habits and practices of religion and to be a true worshipper. Amen.

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