Anyone my age or older recognizes the image or the name Eddie Haskell. That boy in Leave it to Beaver that always said the right things… just for all the wrong reasons. Although his character exaggerated this act to such a point to be obvious to the viewers, our world is filled with real life Eddie Haskells… and this is not new.
Isaiah was attempting to warn Judah of the same thing. The Israelites had been saying all the right things to God and doing all the right things but for all the wrong reasons… and God was seeing right through it. In Isaiah 1, Isaiah delivered these words directly from God.
12 “When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.”
Then and now, people would go through motions claiming honorable reasons but all along performing them for selfish purposes. We see it even more during the election cycle where politicians on both sides do and say things to pander to voters, yet are not consistent in their actions.
It is easy to point out the wrong when someone does the wrong thing for selfish gain, but when they do the right thing (even if the motive was wrong)…. what’s wrong with that?
Everything according to God. Even worshiping Him (a very good thing) is wrong if it is done for the wrong reasons. He says He will hide His eyes and not listen to your prayers. That’s pretty significant.
This is extremely prevalent in many churches. People fall into habits of doing a ritual without any thought as to Why they do that ritual. Instead of performing a ritual or ceremony for the purpose of glorifying God, they fall into the trap of performing these actions to satisfy the desires of man (typically others in their church). Yet if you ask these people why the do what they do, they have no answer.
This is the trap my wife found herself in before I met her. Seeking growth inside the Catholic church. Plenty of rituals with no explanation as to the purpose behind them. They are no different than those Israelites in Judah at the time of Isaiah. They believed in God, but were driven more by worldly thoughts or tradition.
Faith is not about what you do or how you act, it is about what you believe and how you love. Paul said “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) No mention of rituals, just confess and believe. Before that, Jesus Himself said that the greatest commandment was not some action to perform but to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37,39)
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button in the top right corner AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.