Most of us who went to church this past weekend participated in praise and worship and listened to the various sermons during the services. I wonder how many of us would God actually say
Tell my people Israel of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? – Isaiah 58:1-5 NLT, emphasis mine
As if I were looking into a mirror, I look at these verses and realize how many times I scream out to God, “why aren’t you impressed with _________?” As I read these verses I have to wonder how many times I perform my acts of worship only for myself. I wonder how many times I simply roll through the motions in worshiping, praying, studying. I wonder if God would call me on these same issues the Israelites were struggling with. And I am challenged to continue to take what I absorb in my head and let it mold my heart to one that only desires to please the Lord.