08/02/16 Far from Him

READING: Isaiah 28-30

Sometimes, the biblical text hits you right between the eyes. Today is another one of those days for me. 

I love coming together with the people of God to worship Him, but I must admit that these words hit far too close to home today: “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught’” (Isa 29:13). So much in this verse challenges me: 

  • Do I honor God more with my lips than with my heart? I’m a preacher, and preachers use their words a lot — but we don’t always spend sufficient time testing our heart. I wish I could affirm that what we say is precisely how we live at all times, but I know better than that. 
  • If my congregation, family, and friends believe that my words reflect the reality of my heart — and thus my heart is as godly as my words seem, how close are their assumptions to being accurate? Do my words reveal a genuine heart, or am I ever guilty of being one of the people who “hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, 'Who sees us? Who will know?’” (Isa 29:15). I don’t want my words to sound godly while my heart is more turned to evil. I don’t want to be a fake. 
  • Do I truly worship God in spirit and in truth, or do I simply follow the rules and traditions of my church’s worship? It’s easy to play the game some Sundays. When worship becomes more my job than an encounter with my Creator and Redeemer, something’s not right.  

As the writer of Hebrews reminded us, the Word of God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12). It truly digs into the depth of our soul, exposing our disobedient thoughts, wrong attitudes, and sinful motives. It hurts — but in a good way. With the necessary piercing pain of a needle that delivers medicine to a sick body, the Word wounds and heals at the same time. 

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Answer the bold print questions above for yourself.  
  • Ask God to use His Word to wound you with conviction but then heal you with grace today.             

PRAYER: “God, test my heart via Your Word today.”   

TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 31-35