“Rituals vs. True Sacrifice”
Written by: Stephanie Bright
The book of Isaiah is full of prophecies that were not just for the people in that era but also us today. As we begin reading this book, in the first two chapters, we see that God has used Isaiah in an attempt to grab the attention of the Israelites.
God is frustrated with their daily choices. By this time, God had established commandments on how to properly present a sacrifice to Him, how He wanted them to live, and so on. They knew the “rules.” They knew what to do, and they were doing it.
So what’s the problem?
Weren’t they being obedient to what God had commanded?
Yes and no.
They did what they knew to do, but their heart wasn’t in it. They were going through the motions, but they weren’t living a life of sacrifice and surrender in their day-to-day lives. In Isaiah 1:11-16, God exposes them for their “vain offerings.” From what we read, we can see that they were presenting burnt offerings, animal sacrifices and abiding by the laws of the feasts that were required at the time. On paper, they were checking off all the “Christian to-do checklists.”
But… God was not pleased. If you skip back a few verses to the beginning of Chapter 1, you see that God has called them out for being a “sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity” (Is. 1:4). In simple terms, they were a hot mess. God saw their nation deteriorate and used prophets, as He still does today, to warn them.
“Shame on them,” you may think. “How dare they just go through the motions?” The Bible is alive, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. That means that this Word can still be applied to us today. It’s time to do a self-check.
How often are we just like the Israelites,going through the motions?
- when to go to church.
- we need to read our Bibles.
- when to raise our hands in worship, to shout “Amen”,
- and nod our head during the sermon.
We’ve mastered the rituals, but is our heart truly in these things?
What is our “why” behind these things? Are we doing them simply because God commanded us to do them? Yes, that is obedience, but God wants more than our hands…He wants our hearts. Our Father wants more than just us doing the actions; He wants us to abide in Him daily. He wants us to live for Him out of love, not irrational fear or pure boredom.
So let’s ensure we’re not just checking off boxes our entire lives. Let’s go to church because we enjoy being a part of the body of Christ. Let’s read the Word because we desire deeper communion with God. Let’s make sure to worship Him in Spirit and truth, not just in rituals.
This devotional was submitted by Stephanie Bright, a loving contributor to Our Given Purpose. Edited by Torrie Slaughter the founder of Our Given Purpose® in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Bible In A Year Daily Reading Plan
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Connect with Stephanie Bright at www.christiangirlspop.com
Stephanie is an on-fire woman of God living in Houston, Texas. As a woman of God, Stephanie commits to the purpose of serving others while building confidence in God through obedience and fervently prays for intimate relationships with God for every Christian girl. Stephanie is inspired to bring CGPOP to college campuses worldwide and is experienced in several areas to guide young women into a meaningful relationship with Christ.