Summary: This message deals with the issue of insincere devotion and love for the Lord. It addresses the issue of why believers drift far away from the Lord sometimes. It is one of the messages in the book Treasures from Isaiah, Volume 1 written by Dr.Mattoon
The Hollowness of Heartless Devotion
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Let me ask you a question. How would you feel if you sensed that your wife was running around with another man, but you were not quite sure about it? You went ahead and hired a private investigator to see if your hunch was true or not. After investigating your wife, it was found or proven that she was seeing another man and having regular sexual rendezvous in motels or at his home.
Before you confronted her with the evidence that was accumulated by the investigator, how would you feel if she told you how wonderful you were while she was still running around with another man? How would you feel if she gave you gifts, cards, or little love notes that were supposed to be expressions of her love for you? How would you feel if she looked you in the eyes, gave you a kiss, and told you that she loved you and hoped you had a nice day at work? Would you like the gifts? Would you believe her words of love and adoration or would you be repulsed by them? Would they basically make you want to puke?
How many of you would want to puke, be irritated, be angry or be disgusted? Why? Isn’t it nice to get gifts from your wife? Isn’t it nice to get kisses and to hear words of love and adoration? What’s the problem? The answer is the fact that the words don’t match the actions of the wife. The words are hollow, empty, and insincere. Instead of being a blessing, the words and gifts are burdensome and bitter.
This is where we find God’s people in Isaiah chapter 29. The relationship that Israel had with God was just like the relationship of the unfaithful wife with her husband. Their so called “devotion” to the Lord was in reality heartless and hollow. God said, “Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me...”
This statement brings me to these questions, “Does this verse describe the relationship that you have with God right now? Are you like the unfaithful wife when it comes to your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Is your devotion to the Lord actually empty, hollow, and heartless because you have actually drifted away from the Lord?” Some may ask, “ How do God’s people drift away from Him? Why does this happen?” These are the issues we are going to address in this three-part message. Let’s begin. Notice verse thirteen.
I. Fantastic Praise: “Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me...”
Worshipers in Israel were not short on their praise for the Lord. They drew near with their mouths and honored the Lord with their words. These folks were not any different than people today who claim to love Jesus with all their hearts or say, “I”m saved. I know the Lord.” Nothing wrong with that, but what these folks were saying did not impress God at all as we will see. Why? Their devotion was hollow and heartless.
II. Fake Proclamations: “...but have removed their heart ...”
The problem with God’s people was the fact that they did not mean what they were saying about the Lord. Their words were empty and hollow because they were not birthed from their hearts. They had become spiritually blind and ignorant because they rejected the truth that had already been presented to them.
Beloved, God is not impressed with our praise for Him when it does not come from a sincere heart and a life that backs up what comes from our lips. That is important to God. We know that this is true because the Bible repeatedly brings this issue up. Worship requires truth, not deception.
* Ezekiel 33:31-32...And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.  And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
* Matthew 15:8-9... This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.