Summary: When does God refuse worship? When it is not about Him but it is about us.
“When God Refuses Worship”
INTRODUCTION: The great prophet Isaiah brings God’s message to an apostate Israel. Israel had fallen into sin as a nation.
Israel was continuing in all of the religious ceremonies, yet God was unimpressed because He knew there hearts were not truly motivated out of love for Him, but out of their own sinful desires.
***An important note was when God sarcastically used the term “Your” New moons [which was a worship service] instead of “My” New moons. He was basically saying, “This worship is obviously all for you, because it is doing nothing for Me” (vs. 14)
I believe this message is timely for today’s church – because many people are going to church for all of the wrong reasons, and worshipping with all of the wrong motives
The church today has become preoccupied with “our” worship, with little to no emphasis one “His” worship
I. God’s Appeal
a. The Lord commands all people to hear His instruction (vs. 10)
b. God’s appeal went out to everyone from lowest to highest rank – He meant to get the attention of both ‘prince’ and ‘pauper’
i. The Rulers
1. God first addresses the rulers, or those in charge
2. He said you have become like the rulers of Sodom
ii. The Regulars
1. God then addressed the people, as the people of Gomorrah
2. To say that the people of Israel had become liken to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was a scathing condemnation
3. This is because these cities represented the very epitome of sinfulness
c. This may have been God’s way of saying, “Look, I don’t care who you are socially or politically, or even how long you have been going to church – none of these excuse sinful behavior”
i. Everyone, from the pastor to the drug dealer, from the priest to the pimp, needs to listen to God’s word
ii. Just because a person is a pastor, or a church member does not give the right to ignore God’s word
II. God’s Anger
a. The Lord explains why He is angered (vs. 11-15)
i. He will not accept meaningless sacrifice (vs. 11)
1. The Israelites were going on with their sacrifices as usual, without repentance to accompany them
2. God would much rather us be obedient to His Word, than to live a life of sin and try to buy His forgiveness through sacrifice
3. READ: 1st Samuel 15:22 “Then Samuel said: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”
4. True worship comes when we offer our bodies as a ‘living sacrifice’, meaning that we worship God both in and out of the church
5. The sacrifice of praise given from a disobedient heart is a meaningless sacrifice
ii. He will not endure both sin and worship (vs. 13b)
1. The Israelites were being the equivalent of ‘Sunday Christians’
2. They were worshiping on the day of worship and living like the devil on the other days of the week
3. To live a sinful life and a worshipful life is impossible, because it is contradictory
4. Sometimes we carry sin into worship with us: What’s on your mind right now?
a. The girl/guy standing next to you?
b. The nasty pictures on your computer?
c. The next dope high you are going after?
5. Many times we think God doesn’t know our true heart
6. READ: 1st Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
7. We need to put our minds and hearts on God, not only in worship but in our daily lives and allow Him to make us more like Christ
iii. He will not hear prayers with impure motives (vs. 15)
1. “Hands spread wide” was the position of prayer of the Israelites
2. A life that is not in tune with God, will usually produce prayers of the same caliber
3. READ: James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
b. When the Bible says, “Your hands are full of blood”, it is a metaphor for being guilty of sin
i. It is like saying, “you’ve been caught red handed”
ii. We may fool everyone in church if we fake our worship; but remember God sees us for who we really are – and has caught us red handed if our hearts are set on ourselves and not Him
III. God’s Answer
a. God, like a loving parent, doesn’t leave His people without provision.
b. The Lord offers a solution (vs. 16-17)