The Lord says, “These people come near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Isaiah 29: 13
Have you ever had to pretend you were enjoying something you were doing, but you really weren’t, such as volunteering for a community event or serving on a committee? I think we’ve all had those times when we have gone through the motions, but our hearts just weren’t in it! We were probably even able to fool those around us, and they didn’t have a hint of our true feelings!
But one thing we can be sure of – we can never fool God! He can see right to our hearts and He knows what we are thinking and feeling. He especially knows of our deception when we just go through the motions of worshiping Him, and we don’t really have those deep, sincere feelings of love, gratitude, and praise He longs for us to have.
This verse was written about the relationship that Israel had with God during the prophet Isaiah’s day. Isaiah is warning them of coming judgment because of their so called devotion, which was in reality hollow and empty. They came near to Him in worship and honored Him with their words, but this didn’t please God. He knew their hearts were not aligned with their words or their deeds. They had rejected His truths, and were worshipping Him “with rules taught by men” – just going through the rituals – with no true love or desire to honor Him. God is never pleased with individuals who come near to Him with indifference or the desire to impress others with their spirituality.
Neither is God impressed with our praise when it doesn’t come from a sincere heart or from a life lived for Him. We may speak of Him, go to church regularly, and even pray eloquently, but if our hearts aren’t in the right place, He knows. He sees our lack of obedience, faithfulness, and true devotion to Him.
Isn’t it sad to think that there are so many among us who are just like the people of Israel and are doing the same? Even when they are worshiping God, their hearts and minds are elsewhere. They may go through the motions during worship services and then not think of Him again until they attend the next one. In truth, their hearts just aren’t in it. How we dishonor God when we don’t recognize His glory, His goodness, and His grace.
Our God deserves so much more for all His blessings to us. He deserves our time, love, respect, and praise. May we worship Him always with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds.
Dear Lord, how we dishonor your name and your love for us when we don’t come before you with all our hearts in gratitude and praise. May we seek you and allow your Spirit to work in our hearts to fill us with devotion and faithfulness to you. Amen