Our Worship Pretense

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I read Isaiah 1:10-20 today and it was most striking. I'm not sure if people still talk about worship wars, but God is not so concerned about the way we worship but who and why we worship.

Ortlund says, "For our worship to be saved, it isn’t a matter of fine-tuning our outward performances. It’s a matter of repentance."

Now that I read these verses in Isaiah, I read it in new light and understanding, I read it in reference to myself and I read it against my pretense in worship.

Initially I still think about the old way of worship by the Israelites, which I obviously don't do. But now, I can relate it to the sins I commit when I come to worship God every Sunday.

"What offends God is hollowed-out worship." (Ortlund)

Listen to the Word of God through his prophet, first in ESV which is more (dynamically) literal, then NLT which is a bit more paraphrased and finally The Message which is most paraphrased.

Isaiah 1:10-20 ESV
Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
"What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
"When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?
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.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
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.
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.
"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Isaiah 1:10-20 NLT
Listen to the LORD, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.”
“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Isaiah 1:10-20 MSG
“Listen to my Message, you Sodom-schooled leaders. Receive God’s revelation, you Gomorrah-schooled people. “Why this frenzy of sacrifices?” GOD’S asking. “Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices, rams and plump grain-fed calves? Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats? When you come before me, whoever gave you the idea of acting like this, Running here and there, doing this and that— all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
“Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.
“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is GOD ’s Message: “If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool. If you’ll willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings. But if you’re willful and stubborn, you’ll die like dogs.” That’s right. GOD says so.

"Richard Lovelace reminds us that the grace of God is the only power that can free us from our hypocrisies". (Ortlund)

pearlie

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