God says to Israel, “23“You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, Nor wearied you with incense. 24“You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; Rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities.” Isa 43
We come together on the Lord’s Day because He gets the first of everything. He is first before parents, work, and before our cherished pursuits. So we worship God.
Why do we worship God? Because the life in you and me is necessarily given away to something or to someone. When we are not worshiping God at the appointed time, then we are giving worship to something else. To not worship God is to turn to an idol. Our life is sacrificed to the things of the flesh or it is given to God. There is no option but to sacrifice ourselves to something.
What was the sacrifice Israel brought to God? Sins and iniquities. The blood sacrifices might be offered, but what God saw was the sin of an unconverted people. It wearied and burdened God. And so he rejects the worship of people who love their mammon and other idols more than God. God simply will not accept the leftovers that are seasoned by a week of fleshly living. Have we sacrificed to your idol and expected that God would not notice?
The church of Christ is God’s people. And God’s people are to be holy and wholly devoted to Him alone. We are to love Him more than mother and father. We are to love Him more than our own life. Love Him more the delicacies and precious things of this world. Life is too short to be giving our best to the world.
“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD.” Isa. 1:11
Israel, who God promises to forgive which probably means the faithful remnant, has been pleasing itself and has been worshiping itself. Paul tell the Romans that the mind set on the flesh is death. The mind of Israel was set on the flesh so that whatever it offered on the altar was a nauseating slab of meat and nothing more. There’s no sweet aroma of a godly man who is bowed in his spirit. There’s no gentle and quiet spirit of a godly woman bowing before His throne. God sees the idols in the heart. And so their sacrifices are sin and iniquity.
Paul also said in Romans 8 that the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. True worship must begin in the mind, heart and soul. The idols must be torn down. God is to be worshiped in spirit and truth, Jn 4:23,24.
“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” Isa. 43:25.
Life is too short to miss the promise of forgiveness from God. Maybe Isaiah’s audience won’t turn and rejoice over the blessed Gospel. It’s so very hard to leave the idol in the heart. But God says He will forgive. It might not be you who is broken in spirit and who runs before the throne of grace. It might not be your children who have learned from you what is important. But there will be a remnant of people who put God first. And God will be glad to receive their sacrifices. They will have the aroma of a broken spirit. They will smell of love. They will be the visible representation of faith. And God will forgive.
by Dan Mayfield
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