A Matter of the Heart (Isaiah 29)
What struck me in this chapter are the words that are quoted by Jesus in Matthew 15:8. He was being criticized by the Pharisees because His disciples were not observing some of the traditions championed by the Pharisees. Jesus quotes this verse as part of a longer reply, pointing out that in their concern for these external traditions, the Pharisees had in fact lost sight of what is most important, namely the condition of the heart before God.
Similarly, the Lord in Isaiah calls out His own people for their unfaithfulness. Their hearts were not right, even though they were quite adept at observing external traditions that put their supposed piety on display.
This is a temptation that is still with us today. It’s much easier to focus on the performance of externals than the condition of our hearts. It is quite possible to go through all the correct pious motions on a Sunday morning, or in an encounter with a friend or acquaintance, and yet still be full of bitterness, resentment, greed, and other vices. The pious acts we might engage in only have meaning and value as they reflect the faith flowing from within. So these words direct us to tend to the matters of the heart above all.
And so this is my prayer today, that the Lord’s Spirit would direct me to a right understanding of my own need for repentance where my heart is not right. I pray that God would rebuke me where I need rebuked, and forgive what needs forgiven, so that my worship is a fit offering for Him.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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