READING: Isaiah 1-4
“I hide my eyes from you.”
The people of God were religious, for sure. They were bringing their offerings to the Lord, and they didn’t miss their prescribed celebrations and feasts. Their religious activities were numerous, yet their hearts weren’t right with God.
They had reduced their faith to outward actions with no corresponding inward change. They even seemingly desecrated the Temple, trampling on it in disrespect (Isa. 1:12). God was, in fact, weary of their activities — activities that were “meaningless,” “detestable,” and “worthless” (Isa. 1:13). So strongly was God opposed to their religion that He said, “Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being” (Isa. 1:14). Indeed, He used the names of Sodom and Gomorrah to describe the people.
One consequence of their false faith was God’s unwillingness to hear their prayers: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening” (Isa. 1:15). Again, they may have gone through the motions of religion—particularly, praying with the accepted posture—but God was not interested in hearing from them in their rebellion. To attempt to pray to God when we are living in direct rebellion to Him is a fruitless endeavor.
Today, the words, “I am not listening” grab my heart and challenge my soul. Most of us who are believers worship regularly, but we, too, sometimes go through the motions. We already know the order of service in next week’s worship service. We can talk the language of worship. We somehow convince ourselves that it’s acceptable to lift our hands in worship on Sunday and bow our knee to the devil and the world on Monday. Then, we pray – and we wonder why it seems our prayers go nowhere. Simply said, disobedience and hypocrisy lead to a rotten prayer life.
- Pray more today than you have prayed in the last several months.
- Ask God to give you wisdom and perseverance as you serve Him in a rotten world.
PRAYER: “God, I’m tired of ritual. Grant me renewal so my worship is genuine and strong. ”
TOMORROW’S READING: Review and catch-up day