Focal Passage: Isaiah 58:1-12
When I was a kid, I loved going to Chuck E. Cheese, not for the love of pizza or the big rat singing on stage. I loved going for one reason – tokens! Those gold tokens were my tickets to enjoyment! If I wanted fun, I’d drop a token in the Skee-Ball machine. If I wanted excitement, I’d drop one in Whack-a-mole. Those tokens were my way to get what I wanted.
In Isaiah’s day, God’s people were using God-ordained activities of worship more like tokens for self-fulfillment. They were treating God like a heavenly arcade machine. So, they would drop in their “worship” activity “tokens” and wait for God to dispense the goods. God intended those actions, like fasting, to be an expression of their love for, and submission to, Him. If they were worshipping from true hearts of love for, and surrender to, God, the fruit of their lives should show in obedient living. Instead, the superficial nature of their worship was being further illustrated by their selfish and sinful living. And God, through Isaiah, issued a clear call – Repent!
It doesn’t honor Him when we simply sing our songs, or give our money, on Sunday – hoping He will notice and bless us – while then going on to live like the world. When our hearts are right and our worship is sincere, we recognize that what we really want and need is God, not simply the blessings He can provide. Only then will we pursue loving Him more and more with all our hearts and loving others as ourselves, as He expects.