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About-Him.Com Devotional 08-31-2013

Does God Get His Belly Full of Our Nonsense?

The prophet Isaiah had a long ministry during the reigns of four kings of Judah. Some say he may have prophesied as long as 64 years. It seems that he was just as much of an evangelist as well as a prophet. He was mightily blessed to foresee the incarnation of God among us  and to view the millennial kingdom of Christ. He was a fearless warrior for the Lord, who never minced words with anybody. Black was black and white was white. There was no in between.  

When he began his ministry, the Assyrian empire was pushing eastward and threatening the land of Israel and Judah.  The northern kingdom would be taken into captivity and scattered. Judah resisted Assyrian captivity, but was later conquered by the Babylonians. All because of God’s judgment against their hypocritical and idolatrous ways. Isaiah’s pleadings and Israel and Judah’s demise are recorded for our instruction that we might learn from their example Ro. 15:4; 2 Pe. 2:6).  

The Lord spoke in chapter 1 and referred to Israel as ungrateful and rebellious children who didn’t have the sense of a donkey who at least knew who was furnishing his shelter and food (Is. 1:2-3).  

They had provoked the Lord to anger because of their sinfulness. They were corrupt. Their head was sick and their heart faint. They were full of wounds, bruises and sores which no ointment could heal. They were being threatened by marauding enemies. If it were not for a faithful remnant of believers, God would have destroyed them like Sodom and Gomorrah (Is. 1:6-9)..  

The Lord then gave a stinging indictment in which He rejects all of their pretenses of worship.  

Isaiah 1:11  To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12  When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13  Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15  And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Do we see any parallels between that day and now?  Israel was continuing with the sacrificial system that God had ordained. However, their heart was not in it. Their worship was more a case of fire insurance, just in case God was real after all.  

Do you think that God ever gets His belly full of our vain worship that is not from our hearts? How about our forms and rituals? We pick on the more formal denominations for things that we consider ridiculous, but we all have some empty rituals, that don’t impress God one iota. I believe He gets a thrill out of someone singing out of tune while giving Him heartfelt praise. I also believe He plugs His ears to some of our best worldly influenced church music that comes across as a performance, rather than true praise. What do you think?  

God hadn’t given up yet. He pleaded with Israel to mend their ways and repent, to avoid judgment, just as Jesus pleaded with the seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation (Rev. 3:19-20).  

Isaiah 1:16 ¶  Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

700 years later, we see that things hadn’t really changed. Israel had been taken captive and dispersed. Some intermarried with heathen people and were resettled in Samaria, where idol worship continued. After returning from Babylonian captivity, Judah forsook idol worship, but Jesus had a lot to say about their religious practices.  

He denounced the Pharisees in very scathing terms. The Pharisees washed their hands often. They were more concerned about eating with dirty hands, than with the filth that came forth from their heart. They substituted ritualistic washings of pots and pans for true adherence to the word of God. Jesus had something to say on the matter:  

Luke 7:20  And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

The Pharisees were known for long public prayers. They didn’t mind blocking the narrow streets while they poured forth their prose to God. Jesus said that they honored God with their lips, but that their hearts were far from Him. Jesus told us to give our alms, pray, and fast in secret and our Father would reward us openly (Mt. 6:4,6,18).  

The Pharisees  hindered men from entering the kingdom of God because of their legalisms. They substituted the traditions of men for the commandments of God (Mk. 7:13).  

The Pharisees  tithed to the extreme, but neglected judgment and the love of God (Lu. 11:42).  

It’s easy to point out the failings of ancient Judah and the sins of the Pharisees, but what about me? Am I serving God fervently from a pure heart or am I just following the traditions that I’ve learned? That is a question that we must ask ourselves daily. Do I do anything for show or pretense? Does my church hinder folks from coming to God, because of their legalisms? Do I hinder people from coming into the kingdom because of an unholy attitude?  As the old song says, …Am I all that I can be, is He satisfied with me?”  

Revelation 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Song: The Fountain of Blood

Song: Wash Me and Cleanse Me  
Somebody Has Said
You cannot study the Bible diligently and earnestly without being struck by an obvious fact that the whole matter of personal holiness is highly important to God! -  A. W. Tozer

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Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries

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