Reading the Bible with me? Then grab your pen and journal and read
Isaiah 29. If you see the word Ariel in verse one, it sounds like a Hebrew term meaning altar or hearth. Jerusalem was certainly the Jewish center for burning sacrifices. God used this term to show that Jerusalem, like many nations surrounding her, would endure the heat of God’s judgment. Verses 2-4 reveal God’s plan to “bring disaster” upon the city. “Jerusalem will become what her name, Ariel, means – an altar covered with blood.” This was a prophecy foretelling the Assyrian assault on Judah and Jerusalem in 701b.c. This event can be found in Isaiah 36-37. There you can read about siege of Jerusalem thwarted by the God Who keeps His promises. See Isaiah 29:5-7 regarding this promise.
Why would the people of Judah and Jerusalem be subjected to such judgment? God reveals it in verses 13-16. There religious practice was powerless. They honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. In other words, they did not walk the talk. Their professions of faith were not backed up by obedience motivated by love. As the old saying goes, “Talk is cheap.”
The great South African writer, teacher, and pastor wrote about securing the Presence of God. Talk is cheap. God looks at the heart. He is interested in motivation because motivation reveals the depth of faith. If our hearts are far from Him, nothing we say to Him or about Him rings true. Do not fall into a rut when it comes to worship. Simply going through the motions without a desperate longing to experience God’s Presence will never secure His Presence. He comes to those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth.
Do not let your private or public worship become rote. Every time you worship, worship with humility, drawing near to God, hungering and thirsting after His righteousness, praying while in His word, and persisting until you know you have met Master! Secure His Presence every day in every crisis, every decision, and every circumstance.