How do you worship God? Do you worship God? Or do you take Him for granted? I did for a long time. I knew He existed. I knew Jesus was His Son and part of the Holy Trinity, but I had better things to do. Things that I thought were more important. Lots of things that I put first. You can say I worshiped them before God. Like career, money, travel, entertainment, partying and having a good time. I didn’t need God. I was self-sufficient, I was doing OK. That is until I was stuck in an awful spot and the only place I could look for help was up. That’s when God started turning my life around. Too bad I fought Him all the way. (Check out my testimony links at the bottom).
In these next 2 chapters, Isaiah wrote to the Jews of his day what God wants them to hear and understand. Back then, God just wanted the people to obey the laws that He gave Moses. The laws should have been taught from generation to generation. If you obeyed, you were a godly person. You followed godly paths. You walked with God. That’s all God wanted — obedience! Today, because Jesus took all our sins with Him to the cross, it’s through Him that we have salvation. Let’s dig in…
Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
2 For those who follow godly paths
will rest in peace when they die.
This may be talking about the Rapture of the born-again Christians when Jesus will call us up to Heaven with the sound of the trumpet. We will be spared His wrath that’s coming in the Great Tribulation. I also think of the 2 dear friends whom I lost at the beginning of this year and the anniversaries of their deaths are coming up. I am glad that they aren’t around to see the evil and lawlessness that’s enveloped the world right now. They followed godly paths — Jesus is the WAY — and they are resting in HIS PEACE.
Idolatrous Worship Condemned
3 “But you—come here, you witches’ children,
you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
4 Whom do you mock,
making faces and sticking out your tongues?
You children of sinners and liars!
5 You worship your idols with great passion
beneath the oaks and under every green tree.
You sacrifice your children down in the valleys,
among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
6 Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys.
You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings.
They, not I, are your inheritance.
Do you think all this makes me happy?
7 You have committed adultery on every high mountain.
There you have worshiped idols
and have been unfaithful to me.
8 You have put pagan symbols
on your doorposts and behind your doors.
You have left me
and climbed into bed with these detestable gods.
You have committed yourselves to them.
You love to look at their naked bodies.
9 You have gone to Molech
with olive oil and many perfumes,
sending your agents far and wide,
even to the world of the dead.
10 You grew weary in your search,
but you never gave up.
Desire gave you renewed strength,
and you did not grow weary.
11 “Are you afraid of these idols?
Do they terrify you?
Is that why you have lied to me
and forgotten me and my words?
Is it because of my long silence
that you no longer fear me?
12 Now I will expose your so-called good deeds.
None of them will help you.
13 Let’s see if your idols can save you
when you cry to them for help.
Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!
If you just breathe on them, they fall over!
But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”
God Forgives the Repentant
14 God says, “Rebuild the road!Isaiah 57 NLT
Clear away the rocks and stones
so my people can return from captivity.”
15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,
the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
16 For I will not fight against you forever;
I will not always be angry.
If I were, all people would pass away—
all the souls I have made.
17 I was angry,
so I punished these greedy people.
I withdrew from them,
but they kept going on their own stubborn way.
18 I have seen what they do,
but I will heal them anyway!
I will lead them.
I will comfort those who mourn,
19 bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
says the Lord, who heals them.
20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,
which is never still
but continually churns up mud and dirt.
21 There is no peace for the wicked,”
says my God.
Idolatry Continues Today
The Israelites’ worst sin was worshiping the false gods of the surrounding nations as well as inanimate objects. Those non-existing gods couldn’t help the people back then and they certainly can’t help you today! Venerating and praying to dead people like Mary and the saints gets you NOWHERE! They are not an intercessor to Jesus. Jesus is our intercessor to God the Father! That’s how it works. Anything else is fake religion.
The Evil Worship of Molech
One of the fake gods was Molech. This worship was the worst. They burned children and played drums so the people wouldn’t hear the crying. Today, women revere their lifestyles more than the sanctity of life. They fool around and get pregnant, then sacrifice the baby for their career, schooling, vanity and/or pride. In other words, today’s abortion is like the worship of Molech. Except you can’t hear the baby crying as the abortionist is ripping him or her apart.
There is no peace for the wicked.
However, the Good News is that no matter what wicked sin you’ve committed, if you repent, ask Jesus to forgive you, HE WILL! Then you’re good to go! First, you have to admit that you’re a sinner. Second, ask God to forgive you. Believe me, you will feel a HUGE WEIGHT lifted from your shoulders. But, it has to be done with sincerity and wholeheartedly.
Isaiah 58 – True and False Worship
“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2 Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
4 What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
5 You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.Isaiah 58 NLT
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14 Then the Lord will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
The dictionary defines “pious” as “devoutly religious” and “making a hypocritical display of virtue”. That’s Roman Catholicism. All the religious rites and rituals, the sacraments, confessing to a priest who has no power to grant absolution — only Jesus has that power, going Mass and responding like robots. That’s false, pious worship.
According to Isaiah, God hates that. He doesn’t want that. He wants truly repentant hearts.
Good works are great! In fact, that’s one thing Catholic Charities does well. Nevertheless, understand this — we are not saved BY DOING good works. We are saved to do good works.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
Jesus told us…
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’Matthew 22:37-39 NLT
Verse 10 in the NKJV reads:
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;Isaiah 58:12 NKJV
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach (Gap),
The Restorer of Streets (Paths) to Dwell In.
Notice the words are capitalized. That means it’s referring to Jesus. Sin creates a gap — a canyon — between us and God. Last year, I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time. Truly no picture does it justice! (The flood did it, by the way.)
Now, imagine a gap, a breach, as big as the Grand Canyon between you and God. There’s NO WAY that you alone, even with all the money and all the best engineers in the world could bridge this gap. It’s too great!
The Good News is that JESUS did it for us! He’s the PATH, and the WAY! Only THROUGH JESUS can you find forgiveness for your sins, and get right with God. Period.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”John 14:6 NLT
So, what do YOU need to do to stop taking God for granted?
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.
Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…
The Great Divide
- From Catholic to Prodigal: Surviving College
- From Prodigal to Progressive: Surviving Hurricanes
- From Progressive to Born Again Christian: Surviving Unemployment