Strong and steadfast
Hear this message from the Lord,
all you who tremble at his words:
“Your own people hate you
and throw you out for being loyal to my name.
‘Let the Lord be honored!’ they scoff.
‘Be joyful in him!’
But they will be put to shame.
What is all the commotion in the city?
What is that terrible noise from the Temple?
It is the voice of the Lord
taking vengeance against his enemies. Isaiah 66:5-6 NLT
Not all will welcome people who live their lives faithfully following the Lord. Their worship of God will be resisted by those who are after religiosity but lack the sincerity in their claim that they are followers of God. They are so concerned about the form of godliness but will not welcome the power of God. They will substitute coming to beautiful temples over obedience to the preaching of God’s word. From the text, Isaiah said, “What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the Lord.” They are not open to what God will do to the lives of those who are longing for His presence. They are threatened by what God will do through the lives of those who find joy in serving Him. Spirituality based on religion and not on having a personal relationship with God is joyless. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for they were only after their practice of their religion void of true spirituality. “‘Then Jesus told him, ‘I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.’ Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?” “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. ‘But you remain guilty because you claim you can see’” (John 9:39-41). Those who made Christ the Lord of their life will be reviled and persecuted. Living out kingdom living will exposed those who are hiding behind religion. Because of this, they will be rejected: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name” (Isaiah 66:5b). When you live out a life of obedience to God and His word, you can count on it that you will be persecuted. But there is no better place than to be living in the center of God’s will. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). God calls His children to remain strong and steadfast even in the midst of persecution.