And so the Lord says,
“These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites
with amazing wonders.
The wisdom of the wise will pass away,
and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.”
“They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” These are words that sting. It brings to mind the words of James:
“And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” James 3:10
Ever feel like someone says something and without knowing it they have described you perfectly? They have cut right to the core of your issue or thought process? Well, these words cut to heart with that same effectiveness. Except in this case, God does know. This who I am. This is who we are: We say we are God’s, but don’t act like it. We are quick to honor Him with lips, but hearts? Well, that’s too often another matter.
And it doesn’t stop their. “…their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”
Again I cringe at the directness of the indictment.
Ever stop to really think about the way you worship? Corporately and personally? How much of what I engage in is just stuff I was told was “the right way” to do it? How much of my worship simply reflects my personal preferences, not God’s interest?
But here’s where my jaw really drops. God has just laid us out. He has examined us and found us lacking. Seriously lacking. We are fakes. We are more interested in self than Him when we worship. So what’s his response? Punishment? Humiliation? The silent treatment?
“…I will once again astound these hypocrites…”
God is saying, “You obviously don’t get it. You don’t see who I am or how worthy I am of worship. You don’t realize what hypocritical jerks you are! (my take on it) So I will show you. I will astound you” And this isn’t the first time ! He says, “…once again…”
In fact, God says, I will show you in such a way that all the wisdom you thought was wise, all the intelligence you thought you had: gone. In the face of God and his greatness we will realize how much we don’t know.
And I have to admit. The more I learn, the less I know! The more I grow in Christ, the less impressed I am with myself. Somehow I knew twice as much ten years ago as I do now. And still I have so much to un-learn.
We don’t deserve this. God has called our bluff. We fake it. We are self-serving when pretending to worship him. And he knows it; calls us out on it. And then says, “But I will astound you. I will show you.”
Instead of rejecting us or spanking us (which we probably deserve) God decides to pursue us. To make the relationship better by showing us what we miss.
Realizing that, is astounding to this hypocrite.