Reading: Isaiah 1:1-2:22; 5:1-6:13
Summary: The prophet Isaiah’s incredible book stands tall among the works of biblical literature. In some respects, it is considered primary among the prophets. Obviously, New Testament writers thought highly of its message as it is extensively quoted there.
Isaiah dates his work through the reigns of kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The first half of the book (1-39) does concern itself with this period of time, even retelling events of the Assyrian attempt to capture Jerusalem, Hezekiah’s illness. and the Babylonian envoy sent to visit Jerusalem (Isa. 36-39). The second half of the book (40-66) looks toward the future events of the return from Babylonian captivity when the Persian empire overthrows Babylon. That’s over 200 years removed from Isaiah’s day and neither Babylon nor Persia are at this time serious threats to Assyrian domination.
Today’s reading will be sampling from the first half of Isaiah. The next three assigned readings (May 15-17) will be further readings from portions of Isaiah.
God Hates Worship
Now that doesn’t sound right, does it? What about, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psa. 95:6)?
So maybe “God hates worship” is too strong, or rather it’s incomplete. There is worship that God does hate (Isa. 1:14). As a matter of fact, Isaiah 1 contains some rather strong language to express God’s feelings about worship He considers deplorable. He said to stop, that He’d had enough, it was vain and an abomination to Him, He could not endure it any longer as it was a burden He was weary of bearing, He had closed both His eyes and His ears to it (Isa. 1:11-15).
So, it is a very real possibility that the very act that is supposed to adore and honor God can actually do precisely the opposite. What God seeks for and desires (John 4:23) can become repulsive and abhorrent to Him.
Having worshiped is not sufficient. Having made an offering is inadequate. The remedy is the worshipper. Fixing broken worship most frequently means fixing the worshipper.
Isaiah says, “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isa. 1:16-17).
Without the desire and sincere intention of becoming the person God wants us to be, any worship is meaningless—at the very least—and even offensive to God.