By Brooke Holt
“Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.” Isaiah 58:1-2
Have you ever been deceived by appearances? Something or someone appears to be one way but turns out to be totally different? While we can be deceived, God cannot.
At this point in Isaiah’s ministry to the nation of Judah, God’s people were lamenting. God was not listening to them or acting on their behalf. In their lament, they claimed to be seeking God, delighting in God, and acting in righteousness. As people trained in the Law, they knew the right things to do as well as the right things to say – all to make them look like faithful worshippers of the Lord. They wore the right things to worship on the Sabbath; they knew the prayers; they memorized Scripture, fasted, and upheld the festival days. In their eyes, they were exceptionally good.
In God’s eyes, they were hypocrites. The Lord looked beyond their holy appearances and saw right into their hearts. And the Lord would continue to speak through his prophet Isaiah to expose their hypocrisy and to call them back to faithful worship and service to God. God spoke the truth in love; that truth wasn’t what they wanted to hear. The question was whether his people would listen. Would they receive these difficult words from God’s prophet and amend their lives?
More importantly, will you? Are you willing to hear God’s truth spoken to you in love? Are you willing to allow God to search your heart and to reveal the sin that lingers there? Are you willing to be exposed by the Lord, even when he chooses to confront through another sinful being?
God is still in the business of exposing hypocrisy. Unfortunately, there is far too much of it in the church today. May God’s healing begin in you today. May you allow him to look beyond your appearance and into your heart, and then may you turn back to him, loving him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (see Mark 12:30).
How do you put on the appearance of faithfulness? What does God want you to know today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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