The pursuit of spirituality
All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. Isaiah 65:3-5 NLT
How God longs for people to come to Him. Instead, they remained to be rebellious. The nature of their rebellion was not based on the ignorance of spiritual matters. In fact, the people Isaiah was referring to from the text were those who have been exposed to God’s word. “He came to his own people, and even they rejected him” (John 1:11). The reverse is true to those who are outside, with all the disadvantages of not learning about God early in their lives, yet they were the ones who believed and followed God. The people that rejected God remained practicing their religion. But they were not following God’s command but their own traditions and practices. From the text, Isaiah was citing what they have been doing as part of their worship experience. He rebuked them of their practices for these were not what Moses instructed the people of God do as they obey God’s command. They imitated the idolatrous practices of the people outside of their faith. Paul pleads to God on behalf of the Jewish people in his time that they abandon pursuing righteousness through religious observances. “For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law” (Romans 10:3). They were caught up in man-made religion that it brought them far away from God and His teachings. Yet God is patient and persistent. Though He is offended from our rebellion, He is still reaching out to us eager to help. God extends His hands to sinners who are willing to turn to Him and receive His offer of forgiveness.