“Year after year, observe your feasts on schedule” (Isaiah 29:1). Taken out of context, this verse may seem to emphasize our organized worship of God. In context, however, you will understand how angry God is with His children’s plodding, insincere religious activities. Woe to the people, Isaiah the prophet warned. Lamenting, mourning, and destruction were soon to follow their half-hearted commitment to God. This passage caused me to ponder whether I was just “on schedule” in my faith journey. Are you? Are we just going through the motions, on our Christian schedules?
Studying Chapter 29 in the book of Isaiah caused me to pause and reflect about whether any area of my life had become just things I do, supposedly in service to God. I’m doing all the “Christian” things like going to church, studying my Bible, praying, serving, etc. Yet, my spirit cringed a bit when I read these words:
“Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote. Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.'” (Isaiah 29:13-14 NASB)
Does this passage ring familiar? In the Gospel of Mark 7:6-7, Jesus speaks these same words about the religious leaders of His time. Jesus criticizes them for keeping the traditions of men while ignoring the commandments of God. Neither Isaiah, nor Jesus cared who they offended with their warnings.
I wonder what God would say to me? This morning, I felt Him whisper, “Be careful, daughter. You are giving me lip service, all the while ignoring what’s really important to me.” Ouch. I’ve had a lot of things going on lately. I’ve been really busy with work these past few weeks. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to things that will waste away with the garbage or blow away with the dust. Perhaps my heart had been drifting far from the Lord.
Have I been chasing after things that are not important to God? Chasing things that make me so busy that I fail to keep my heart close to the Lord. Has my time with God been rushed and scattered, interrupted by my “to do” list? Ugh.
It was true. I was going along with my Christian traditions, my religious schedule, but my heart was not seeking God first. Sometimes I use the hashtag “#Godfirstlife” and my spirit whispered “hypocrite” as I thought of it. A God-first life does not chase after dust. A God-first life is not too busy.
A God-first life doesn’t even have a schedule!
Oh boy, do I have a lot of growing and seeking to do in my walk with Jesus. My faith journey seems to ebb and flow like the tides. I know this is somewhat normal, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it. I want to be totally sold out for God. I want His commandments to be the very desires of my heart every single day I wake up and breathe His air!
As much as I love a schedule (and oh heavens do I ever!), I don’t want my life to be governed by one that is full of the things of this world, leaving the eternal Kingdom scrounging for leftovers.
Before you leave this post feeling discouraged, please note the last part of Isaiah’s prophecy. Despite the failings of the Israelites (and ours), God would do something wondrous to bring the hearts of His people back to Him. I believe these words are a prophecy about Jesus. At least 600 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah told us that God was going to do something “wondrously marvelous.” It wouldn’t make sense to the “wise men,” but He was going to leave His throne, show Himself to mankind, and then die for our sins. Is that not wondrously marvelous?!
Would you join me in a prayer?
O Mighty God, You are indeed wondrously marvelous! You alone are worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. Lord, thank You for whispering into my soul this morning. Thank You for gently guiding my heart onto your path when I tend to allow busyness to create roadblocks to the best life You have prepared for me. Father, help me to seek You first, above all else, even above my schedule, our traditions, our religious activities. Help me to truly live that God-first life that promises abundance, victory, joy and peace. Let Your Word and Your promises be a lamp to my feet, Lord. Guide my way to You, every single hour of every single day. With the power of Jesus I pray these things. Amen!
As I consider how I’m going to keep my heart on track, Bible study always comes to mind. My heart longs to dwell in the words of Jesus (#studyHisLastWords – get the firs week FREE, scroll all the way to bottom “Request My Copy” button). I plan to fill my mind with Scripture that reminds me of God’s power, love, and sovereignty (get a FREE copy on my website, “Safe Scriptures”).
Are you just “on schedule” with God? If no, how are you staying close to Him? If yes, what will you try to bring you back into intimacy with Jesus? C’mon – share your wisdom with us in the comments!
Blessings and peace,