I happen to be reading through the book of Isaiah in my personal studies. Although I’ve read this book many times, as the Lord often does, I was struck by a passage in chapter 1 that I wanted to share. The entire chapter is contextually about the topic of sin of the people of God. It can be broken down into 3 primary sections:
1) God condemning the sin of the nation (vv. 1-9)
2) God calling out their hypocrisy (vv. 10-15)
3) God committing to purge them from their sins, if they’ll only repent (vv. 16-31)
I want to talk about bullet #2 above. Below is the focal reference:
When I was reading through this passage, what stood out to me was the sheer disgust that God had for the religious ceremonies of the people coming together for the purpose of worship. God asks the question rhetorically, “What is your sacrifice to me?” By stating this, God is stating that he doesn’t need the sacrifice of the people. Sacrifice should come after obedience to the commandment of the Lord. Recall when God was lamented that Saul wasn’t following his commandments, Samuel (similarly) rhetorically asked Saul if God delighted more in burnt offerings and sacrifices, or in obedience.
The Lord goes as far as to say that he doesn’t want the “vain” (or empty/meaningless) offerings. As well, the one that struck me dead in the heart was when God said that he cannot “away with” or endure/stand the “solemn meeting.” That solemn meeting, of course, was the gathering together of the children of God to offer worship and praise to the Almighty. He even further qualifies that this meeting was sinful, as it resulted in iniquity!
Sounds good so far, right?
These are people that go to church, tithe, sing all the worship songs, perhaps even smile when they sing on stage, teach Sunday-school, etc., but there’s something not right. They have active, un-confessed sin in their lives, and are going through the motions. Just how much sin can do this? Allow James to answer this question below:
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10
The bottom line of this is that, if you have sinned in any form, you’re as guilty as if you’ve committed all of the sins in the book. So you don’t have to be an adulterer to be sinful (although looking on a woman with lust violates this commandment), nor a murderer (although being angry at a brother or sister without cause, or calling them a ‘fool’ violates this commandment), but something as simple as pride can be the catalyst for the chasm that forms in one’s heart.
Sin is sin.
Oh, and lets not forget about sins of omission as well as commission.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
Not doing something you should do is sin, just as doing something you shouldn’t do.
God wants our sincerity in worship. He knows our heart, so while we may be fooling the people around us, we’re not fooling God. Rather, we’re making him sick with our hypocritical behavior.
So, I’ll ask the question again: Are you serious?