Bible Reference: Isaiah 1:14–17
Bible Text: I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.
Bible Translation: The Message (MSG)
In the days that Isaiah addressed his writings, there were sacrifices at the temple for just about every thing imaginable. However, based on my understanding of Isaiah’s message, I believe God became very agitated at all of the sacrifices while still seeing the same folk who brought the sacrifices live just like the rest of the world, trying to cover up their worldliness by bringing sacrifices and visiting the temple often. In The Message, I feel like Eugene Peterson did a great job in presenting this scripture in terms that really opens our minds to where, and how, we still live today. For I believe that way too often we sit back and read about Old Testament teachings and just can’t get over the awful things they did back then. Friends, unfortunately I believe that God had these words placed in His Book of Instruction (the Bible), because He knew that His people who are often called by His name today, would still try to pull off the same nonsense, assuming that their testimony to man is taken at surface level, because they just can’t see what goes on in the hearts and minds of so called ‘Christians’. I believe that God would have me remind us today that it is the testimony before God that really matters, for only He can match the words from our lips with the intent of our heart, our very thoughts, and our outward actions. I can give you a good example, I believe: I live in a small community where it appears like very few attend a regular church service – a normal indication of an inward decision they may have made to the Lord. My wife and I usually hear comments about how often we leave for a church meeting of one type or another. And not that we have attained perfection, by any stretch of our imagination, but we often hear remarks about our attitude, our commitment and our stand as a Christian. Imagine if those things were opposing to the first remark that I said we often hear, do you suppose we would ever be able to witness to our neighbor. However, as indicated already, God is able to deal with me in passages of scripture like this, because He knows my very thoughts, and He sees my actions in all aspects of life, so I feel like God is ministering to me in much the same way that I pray you would be impacted as you meditate on this devotional today. Friends, I am convinced that God wants us to reach for the perfection that He demonstrated for us, and stop using the excuses like “Well, I’m only human”, or “Oops, I shouldn’t have thought or said that, but God knows I’m not perfect”. I believe that God wants the church to be the church. In other words, I believe that He desires to see the world become confused when they deal with Christians and find them to be totally different to the rest of the world. In fact, it should make them feel like they just had an encounter with Jesus! Unfortunately we still find today that there are multiple opportunities for folk to attend church. I pray that as we exit the doors of our churches, we would carry with us the likeness of Jesus Christ. That we would unashamedly be His hands; His feet and His witness to a world that desperately need Him as Savior and Lord. May our actions, attitudes and thoughts enhance the picture that the world sees, and not be a stumbling block to those who need to know our Savior, because of the hypocrisy that they may witness in our lives.
Heavenly Father, You were so serious about Your love for us, that You allowed Your very own Son to die a cruel death for our salvation. Yet I believe that You probably have as much need as ever before to be upset at us for being so casual about our Christian life and walk here on earth. Please forgive us Lord, and renew within us a right spirit so that the words from our lips, the thoughts from our hearts and the desires of our very being, may always be acceptable in Your sight, our Rock; our Redeemer; our Savior and our Lord, AMEN!
If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!