Thursday, May 30, 2019
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).
Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!
Christ was citing Isaiah 29:13, penned over 700 years prior: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:….” Whether in Isaiah’s ministry, or His own ministry, the Lord Jesus knew the reprehensible predicament of His nation Israel.
They paid Him “lip service:” they read Moses’ writings aloud, sang the psalms, and uttered elaborate prayers. Despite that “fair shew [beautiful exhibition] in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12,13), their innermost being lacked faith. They were not obeying the Scriptures by faith; instead of using that God-given religion to worship Him, they were worshipping the religion itself. While claiming to “love God,” they were unbelieving concerning His words. Their outward appearance was hypocritical, masking their true intentions. God was not fooled then, and He is not fooled today.
Frankly, religious tradition has so preoccupied so-called “Christian” people that their prayers are oftentimes doctrinally worthless. Of course, such prayers are also “useless.” They are recited with the assumption that they can manipulate or force God to agree with their every whim and grant their every wish.
Instead of opening His Bible, and approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)—rather than carefully noticing what verses are to and about them and what verses are not to and about them—they see anything and everything in Scripture as applicable to them. They claim prayer promises God never gave them, and then grow upset and disappointed when He does not react as they supposed He would! Such “unanswered prayers” constantly bother Christians and non-Christians alike. If this is how we handle Scripture, no wonder people loathe “Christian prayer” and rather seek help from “eastern religions!” Almighty God, the Holy Bible, and Christianity are not the problem. We in our carelessness are the problem….
Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Moses ‘very meek?’”