Worthless Worship


Reading the Bible with me? Then grab your pen and journal as we begin our journey through the prophets. Isaiah’s ministry occurred at a time when both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were declining politically and spiritually. Both kingdoms were facing an impending judgement from God. The northern kingdom of Israel was the greater evil. In its entire history, this northern kingdom never had a godly king. In 722b.c., God’s judgement occurred when He allowed them to be swept away by the Assyrian empire. A century later, the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar, invaded the southern kingdom, and took the upper echelon of the population into bondage.

Read Isaiah 1-3 and focus on 1:13-20. God’s chosen people had degenerated to the point that their daily lifestyles were no different than the pagan nations around them. They had become arrogant, materialistic, corrupt, immoral, and self-centered and idolatrous. See chapters 1:21-23 and 1:5-8. Chapter 3:9 tells us that they even flaunted their sins. Yet, they continued with their expressions of worship as noted in chapter 1:11-12. In verse thirteen and following, God says ENOUGH! Their expressions of worship were hollow. They were fulfilling religious rituals but not really worshipping their Holy God. These were people who wanted to experience God’s Presence, but they refused to be changed by His Presence. Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 would certainly apply to the Israel and Judah of Isaiah’s prophecy. They held to a form of godliness but denied its power.

Is the Church in America in danger of judgement? Have we committed the sins of Israel and Judah by loving the world and striving for their acceptance? Do we live our lives as light and salt in a dark and decaying culture or do our lifestyles deny the Lordship of Jesus?

God is patient and always provides time and a means of renewal and revival. Through Isaiah, He gave His people a prescription for revival. In 1:16, He calls on them to repent. This means actively turning away from sins turning toward God’s will and ways. In 1:17-18, God tells them confess. No matter how gross their sins, when they speak with God and confess, He will forgive and cleanse. See I John 1:9. In 1:19-20, He calls them to submit in obedience.

Repent, Admit, and Submit will lead to renewal and revival. Trust and obey, for there is no other way. Worship, in God’s eyes, is uniquely linked to motive.