“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring 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.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When 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.
The Lord has been hitting me hard lately regarding my relationship with Him. I fight hard against His love. I don’t want to believe it. I hear others say they don’t want to believe it. Preachers cajole us from the pulpit to understand and accept God’s love for us. And how He loves us!
But something terrible has happened. I think I’ve worked so hard to get myself to believe that God loves me, that I forgotten to revere Him the way I should. It’s just so easy to see Jesus as my buddy if I’m going to accept that He does, in fact, love me no matter what. I know, I know, Jesus IS my buddy, my best friend.
But He’s also my King. He’s King over everything. Just as it is in His power to create me, it is in His power to destroy me. Harsh, I know. But let’s just keep it real for a minute. Think about it. When we fall deep into God’s grace, we can neglect the very heart of why that grace was given in the first place: we didn’t earn it and we can’t earn it.
Bear with me here, because I’m not at all saying that God’s grace is by any means a bad thing. Our response to grace, however, can become a twisted cesspool of unrepentant sin and hidden idolatry. We all know that Paul said that grace wasn’t an excuse to sin, but we do it anyway. Maybe not in obvious ways, but we still do it. God wants all of us. Not just the parts other people see.
I think He especially wants the part of us that no one sees. He wants us to revere Him and follow Him and serve Him because He is God. He is from everlasting to everlasting, Creator of the universe, and Savior of the world. We don’t want to defile that with idol chatter and gossip, or vain pursuits, or harlotry of the heart.
We need to revere God. He made us. He died for us. And He has all sufficient grace for us. He is worthy of our praise and obedience. When we are in His Presence we need to worship Him first. We need to honor Him fully with our hearts, our minds, and our bodies.
“Come now, let us reason[c] 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.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 1: 18-20
God wants us to speak frankly with Him, and God wants to cleanse us, but for rebellion He has no tolerance. Let us be willing and obedient children to the Lord.
Lord, help me to be a better listener to Your instructions. Help me to revere You instead of take you for granted. Make me a channel of blessing because I have learned from You how to be obedient. Make my joy complete by my willing service to You. Let me be your willing and devoted servant because You are God and I am not. In You is all power of judgement. I accept that Your judgement was poured out on the cross of Christ. Help me to respect Your righteous judgement and not take it for granted. Amen.
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried[a] you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name[b] be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.