Isaiah has had some doozies for me the past few days.
Today, I read this passage, which should sound familiar, as it’s one Jesus quotes in at least two of the gospel accounts:
“And [my people] honored me with its lips, but has kept its heart far from Me, and its worship of me has been a commandment of men, learned by rote […]” Isaiah 29:13
The commentary I’m reading pointed out that “heart” in biblical language is often talking about the mind and thought, while guts or soul refers to the seat of emotions. So, in that case, we could read this as “kept its mind far from me,” which makes this a little different.
Have you ever been in a worship service or a family devotional and you just couldn’t focus? Me too, but I don’t know that this is exactly what the passage is trying to show us. In context, the people referred to here are actively refusing to show justice to the poor and needy, and some are even actively pursuing ways to take advantage of others. Their lives outside of the worship service are antithetical to the praises they sing in the congregation. In other words, their minds, instead of seeking God daily, are seeking out plans that are opposite to God’s.
There’s something to be said for a 24/7 worship lifestyle. The idea that whatever you do can be considered worshiping God as long as it is done in a way that honors him. Have a desk job? The patience and self-control you practice daily dealing with difficult co-workers can be a beautiful offering to God. Work in customer service dealing with some of the most difficult specimens humanity can offer? Your kindness and gentleness in those situations can show God how much you care.
In other words, don’t let Sunday (or whichever day you worship with fellow believers) be the only day your life is different. Be worshipful every day. By modeling this, your kids will start to see that following Jesus isn’t just a one day a week thing, but rather an every day thing. And that may be one of the most important things you show your children.