13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
The NIV gives this chapter the title of Woe to David’s City and is about the siege of Jerusalem. Beyond what is happening to David’s city is what the Lord has to say about those that worship Him in acts, but not with their hearts. He is quite explicit about this when He says
These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
This is not the first time the Lord has expressed such thoughts, nor is it the last. Three examples, one from the beginning of Isaiah and two from the Gospels
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1
Stated much more succinctly, Jesus said to a Samaritan woman
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. John 4:24
In Matthew Jesus was even more direct when He addressed some Pharisees and teachers of the law
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you Matthew 15:7
after which He quoted the verse for today.
So, the question for us is the following: Are we worshipping God with our lips and empty words while we withhold our hearts? Or are we worshipping God with our hearts and our lips and words reflect what is in our hearts. Big question as God is truly interested in our hearts.
It’s Monday and I hope you will have a Great Week as you spend fifteen or more minutes each day in God’s Word. Then additional time thinking, contemplating, and praying over what you have read.