11“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.
12“When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 13Bring 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. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15When 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. 16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
18“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. 19If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”(Isaiah 1:11–20)
Isaiah prophesies that godless materialism is a characterization of the Jewish people in Judah. They focus on personal prosperity while actively engaging in acts of public piety. They check off the boxes of necessary obedience, faithfully attending worship services and making the required sacrifices. However, their faith has no impact on their compassion and concern for others. Isaiah’s point is that there is no true godliness impacting their concern and care for others. Taking advantage of others and ignoring the downtrodden cannot be appropriately united in any sense with the proper worship of God.
The admonition Isaiah makes is still valid in today’s materialistic world. We are kidding ourselves by thinking we can obey and sacrificially worship God while showing little to no concern for others. Having our ritualistic “quiet times,” regularly attending church, reading Christian literature, hanging Christian artwork from our walls and adhering fish emblems to our cars, while having little care and concern for lovingly and actively stirring our brothers and sisters up to love and good deeds, as well as ignoring the hurting struggling around us, is biblically ridiculous. In fact, it is a mockery of God’s character and dismisses necessary truths that call us to obedient reverence for God and humble actions of loving kindness toward others.
Don’t ignore the warning. Those who “obey God,” and treat those who come across their path in need like garbage, will experience God’s judgment of eternal damnation. It is not that such disobedient people lose their salvation. It is that such disobedient people prove they never had it. Their public piety is a charade, and they look at their greatest dupes in the mirror every morning.
If conviction from this comes to your heart, what can you do? The God of mercy and grace says there are cleansing mercy and forgiveness for all those who turn to God and plead for His grace to inspire repentance and obedience. Openly and humbly trust in Jesus as the crucified Savior who paid the penalty for your sin, appeasing God’s righteous wrath against you on the cross. Pursue a life of willing obedience and loving concern, showing that the grace and power of God are flowing over you in rich abundance. The Lord Jesus can change your life!