But those who choose their own ways—
delighting in their detestable sins—
will not have their offerings accepted.
When such people sacrifice a bull,
it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice.
When they sacrifice a lamb,
it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog!
When they bring an offering of grain,
they might as well offer the blood of a pig.
When they burn frankincense,
it’s as if they had blessed an idol.
I will send them great trouble—
all the things they feared.
For when I called, they did not answer.
When I spoke, they did not listen.
They deliberately sinned before my very eyes
and chose to do what they know I despise.”
Isaiah 66:3-4 NLT
True worship is not about taking a taste here then taking a sip there according to your preferences, your likes and dislikes. When you worship the way God wants you to worship, you will listen to His word. This is what Isaiah was telling the people from the text. God expressed His dismay to people who comes to worship yet their focus is on their sacrifice rather than having an attentive and responsive heart. He wants people that will listen to His word. Their idolatry is hidden behind a pretense of faithfulness. They would rather do and follow their own ways rather than what God wants them to do. One by one it was recounted from the text how they offer what seemed to be legitimate desires but their actions that follow are inconsistent to their intent of offering true worship. God will not let this pass for such action is detestable before the Lord. This is why they will reap the consequence: “I will send them great trouble—all the things they feared” (Isaiah 66:3). We cannot take lightly what God is telling us when He speaks. He expects that we will listen or else we are sinning before Him. “For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise” (Isaiah 66:3b-4). The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the religious leaders because of their worship that looked truthful on the outside but their motive was repugnant to God. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28). Same thing could happen to each one of us. We can go to the motion of offering our worship and “do” church in its finest style but offensive to God because of our closed heart. God cares about our sincerity when we come to offer our worship to Him and sincerity is based upon our willingness to listen to Him.