Forthright Magazine

Is our heart far from God?

“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honour 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. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.’” (Isaiah 29:13-14 NIV)

Although written around 2,700 years ago, the verses above could have been written about people today. Isaiah wrote these words about those living in Jerusalem in his day. They had forsaken God and what they were worshipping was far removed from what God wanted. Jesus used the first part of this to talk about the religious leaders of his day, who were known for worshipping God but in reality they were more interested in themselves and their status.

How many today ‘go to church’ each Sunday, sing the right songs, say the right words, but their hearts are far from God? It isn’t that we are to judge others – we really need to be examining ourselves – but when you see how some people live you realise their lives are far from what they are claiming. This ties in with what Isaiah then wrote.

“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’ You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?” (Isaiah 29:13-16)

But how can we hide our plans from God? In fact, how can we hide anything from God? He knows everything about us: what we do, what we are planning to do, even what we think! Yet how many think that just because we haven’t been ‘caught’ or because no one has seen us that somehow God doesn’t know about it either? Perhaps our problem today is similar to the problem Israel had in the way they viewed God: we’ve tried to make God in our image.

How many think of God in human terms? As Isaiah put it, we think of the potter as being just like the clay. This is so far from who God is! How many today have said to God that he isn’t the Creator, but that everything has ‘evolved’ over millions of years, that we are here simply by accident and chance? That is like the pot saying to the potter that he didn’t make me and that he really knows nothing.

No matter what people think of God it doesn’t change who he is – he is still there and he remains our Creator. Whether people like it or not just saying he doesn’t exist or that he didn’t create everything doesn’t change the facts. As God said to those in Isaiah’s time: “the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

What is the solution? We need to get back to God and to acknowledging him for who he is. In order to get back to him we have to listen to what he said, recorded in the pages of scripture.

“In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 29:18-19)

We need to get our heart right with God by spending time in his word, obeying him, and living our lives for him. It is only then that we can truly see and rejoice in all that God has done for us.

Photo by Yan Krukau from Free for use.

Readings for next week: Isaiah 22-30


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