“The multitude of your sacrifices–what are they to me?” says the Lord. “When you appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop binging meaningless offerings to me…Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. they have become a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them.” Isaiah 1:11-14.
When it comes to my relationship with God, in terms of activity, more does not mean better. Busy-ness is not what God asks of me. It is the heart in love with him that God seeks…the heart that sings out with David, “I will praise you Lord with all my heart; I will tell of your wonders.” Psalm 9:1.
So what does that mean? What does God ask of me? Is it to sit on some mountaintop and think wonderful thoughts about him and call it a day? The heart that loves God can not help but become more like him; I think that it wants what he wants:
“Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless. Plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
David’s heart cares for what God cares for,
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed…The Lord is known by his justice, the wicked are ensnared by the works of their hands.” Psalm 9:9,16.
The religious leaders who pestered Jesus misplace loving God with following religious rules and activities. How easy it is to fall into that trap. But Jesus sees through the smoke screen and gets right to the heart of the matter:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-39.
Lord, May my heart love you first and foremost. Show me today what it means to do justice and love mercy. Please protect me from seeking activities and rules that do not serve you. Give me the wisdom needed to hear your voice and a willing heart to be obedient. Amen.